Diabetes - are you at risk?Diabetes is one of the more significant health problems in the U.S. today. One in ten adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and the trend is climbing upward.

There are two primary types of the disease. Type 1 diabetes most often appears in children. It develops over a short period of time and is caused by the body’s inability to make insulin. Without insulin the body cannot utilize the sugar in the bloodstream, so blood sugar levels become very high. The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, and we cannot predict who is likely to develop the disorder.

The more common disease, Type 2 diabetes, results from the body’s inability to use sugar properly even in the presence of adequate insulin. This leads to high levels of sugar in the bloodstream that can damage body tissues. This damage can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and loss of toes or feet.

Type 2 is more common in adults, but it has been increasing in children in recent years. Unlike type 1 diabetes, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to the risk of developing the disease. In addition, it develops slowly over years. If we are looking, we can see indications that a person is heading toward type 2 diabetes long before the disease develops.

The CDC tells us that 86 million adults in the U.S. have “prediabetes.” Without intervention, those with prediabetes are at high risk of developing full blow type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

This probably all sounds like bad news, but there is some good news, too. You can often reverse prediabetes. This means you have time to make changes to head off this severe disease. These changes include improved nutrition, exercise, maintaining an appropriate weight, and managing stress. It may not sound like a lot of fun to skip the chips and munch on some fresh veggies. But simple changes now can head off a disease that might otherwise dominate your life down the road.

So do you have prediabetes? This quick online assessment tool will allow you to see what your risk for prediabetes is. It takes about a minute and you can quickly see how high your risk is and what changes you can make to lower your risk.

But prediabetes and diabetes are truly diagnosed by your blood sugar level. Your doctor can easily check this for you. He or she can also help you pinpoint the specific lifestyle changes that will yield the biggest health results for you. So if you have any questions about your risk for diabetes, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your concerns.