Diabetes is a serious disorder that occurs when your body doesn’t process sugar properly. There are different forms of diabetes, and they affect more than 30 million American men, women, and children.
But, 90-95% of cases are Type 2 diabetes. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which typically occurs suddenly and early in life, Type 2 diabetes develops gradually during a period known as prediabetes.
At Creekside Family Practice in Cypress, Texas, Hammad Qureshi, MD, can help you recognize your risks for developing Type 2 diabetes and determine if you might be prediabetic.
Understanding Type 2 diabetes
If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make or use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone that helps process the sugar from the food you eat into energy. When your insulin can’t manage this sugar correctly, it stays in your blood, causing high blood sugar levels.
Over time, high blood sugar can cause serious and even life-threatening complications, such as:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Nerve damage
- Kidney disease
- Vision and hearing problems
- Sleep apnea
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke
This form of diabetes was previously called adult-onset diabetes, because it developed in grownups. In recent years, however, lifestyle changes and genetics are making prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes more common in children as well. Fortunately, learning to recognize your personal risks can help you catch prediabetes early, even when no symptoms are present.
Recognizing your risks
Several factors can put you at risk of being prediabetic and developing Type 2 diabetes, including:
- Being age 45 or older
- Having a family history of the condition
- Eating a diet high in sugar, processed foods, and red meat
- Being overweight, especially around your waist and abdomen
- Leading an inactive or sedentary lifestyle
- Having a sleep disorder
Certain health issues can also increase your chances of developing high blood sugar, including having a history of gestational diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome. There are also higher levels of prediabetes in certain ethnicities, including Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
The easiest way to avoid prediabetes involves getting regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and managing your weight.
It can be hard to identify prediabetes in the earliest stages, because it rarely causes symptoms. Sometimes, you may notice darker areas of skin in certain areas of your body, such as your elbows, knees, and armpits. But, as your condition progresses into Type 2 diabetes, it’s common to experience other issues, such as:
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger or thirst
- Blurred vision
To diagnose prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, Dr. Qureshi performs a blood glucose screening to measure your sugar levels. In most cases, these glucose disorders can respond to dietary changes and exercise alone. But, Dr. Qureshi might also recommend medications and supplements to help you manage your condition.
For more information on prediabetes, book an appointment online or over the phone with Creekside Family Practice today.