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November is American Diabetes Month
Over 29 million Americans have diabetes, and of those, over 8 million remain undiagnosed. Initial symptoms of diabetes may include excessive thirst, a dry mouth, frequent urination, unusual weight loss or gain, headaches, fatigue, and drowsiness. Left untreated, it can lead to more serious symptoms like poor circulation, numbness or tingling in hands and feet, blurred vision, and fainting. Over the long term, it can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, vision problems, and tooth loss.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 can occur at any age, but it’s most often diagnosed in children and teenagers. While type 2 can also occur at any age, the risk increases as you get older. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but your body isn’t able to use it properly. Without insulin or the ability to use it, your body can’t convert sugar into energy, so the sugar builds up in your bloodstream. Type 2 is far more common and accounts for approximately 95 percent of all diabetes diagnoses.
While all diabetics need to monitor their blood sugar levels, the treatment will vary. Type 1 diabetics will need to take insulin on a regular basis. Type 2 diabetics may be able to control their blood sugar through lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet and regular exercise, or they may also need insulin or other medications.
Some risk factors for diabetes are beyond your control: a family history of the disease, age, and ethnicity, with higher levels among Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and African-Americans. Lifestyle risk factors include being overweight, a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
This Diabetes Risk Test from the American Diabetes Association can help you determine your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you are one of the 86 million Americans at risk, you can prevent or delay onset by maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and eating a healthy diet.
Preventing and managing diabetes isn’t something you have to do alone. Our licensed registered dietitians and certified diabetes educators are here to help develop a prevention or management plan that works for you.
Our Specialists
Bernie Kraft, RD, LRD, CDE
Jenny Schmidt, RD, LRD
Lori Smith, RD, LRD, CDE
The American Diabetes Association


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