Diabetes is a condition in which you have the inability to produce or utilize insulin. It can be caused by both hereditary and environmental influences, resulting in abnormally high blood glucose levels. It is estimated that more than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, a serious, lifelong condition. It is also estimated that 28% of these people have not yet been diagnosed. Regular monitoring of your glucose level through blood testing is important for the prevention or management of this potentially debilitating disease. Below is a list of possible diabetic symptoms.
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing cuts
- Unusual thirst
- Unexplained tiredness
- Numbness or tingling in hand or feet
- Frequent urination
- Rapid weight loss
If you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms you may want to check your blood sugar levels through a blood test.
The Hemoglobin A1C lab test measures your average blood glucose level over the past 2 to 3 months. It shows whether your blood glucose stayed close to your target range most of the time, or was too high or too low. The American Diabetes Association suggests an A1c goal of 7% to help reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications, but advises that individual's goal should be set by their doctor. Chronic increased glucose levels can cause long-term damage to blood vessels, nerves, and organs throughout the body and can lead to other conditions such as renal failure, loss of vision, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
More than 90% of diabetes cases in the United States are Type 2 diabetes. It generally occurs later in life, in those who are obese, sedentary, and over 45 years of age. Other factors to consider include:
- Family history of diabetes and pre-diabetes
- Gestational diabetes during pregnancy or baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth
- High blood pressure
- High triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL
- Race / ethnicity: diabetes is more common in some races and ethnicities
Blood glucose is an essential measure of your health. Don't be one of the 8 million people who are undiagnosed.