November is Diabetes Awareness Month and Cy-Fair Hospital feels that it’s important for each person to know their risks for developing diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 24 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes, 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes, and 1 out of every 3 children born today will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue.
Luckily, you can help prevent diabetes by understanding your health and setting goals, then gradually making changes to achieve long-term success. Even if diabetes runs in your family, you can make lifestyle changes to help delay its onset and prevent serious complications.
“Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, or slow-healing sores,” explains Arun Kumar, MD, family medicine physician for Cy-Fair Medical Partners and on the medical staff at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital. “Complications that can arise from diabetes are heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, or even amputation.”
There are several risk factors associated with diabetes.
- Obesity - Being overweight or obese increases your risk for diabetes. This is the primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- Family History - If you have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you run a higher risk of developing the condition.
- Inactive Lifestyle - Because muscles cells have more insulin receptors than fat cells, regular exercise can decrease insulin resistance. Regular exercise can also help control weight and lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin effectiveness.
- Age - People over the age of 45 should be tested for type 2 diabetes every three years if results are normal. If results are borderline, the test should be repeated annually.
- Genetics - African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Alaska Natives, American Indians, and Asians are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- High Blood Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure - The risk of developing diabetes increases if your HDL (good) cholesterol level is under 35 mg/dL or your triglyceride level is over 250 mg/dL. High blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher also increases diabetes risk.
- Gestational Diabetes - Women who developed gestational diabetes when pregnant or gave birth to a baby that weighed more than nine pounds run a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about your risk of developing diabetes or if you notice any symptoms of type 2 diabetes. For a physician referral, call 800-681-2733 or visit www.CyFairHospital.com/FindAPhysician.