Brush Up On Your Type 2 Diabetes Knowledge

One in 10 Americans has diabetes, and about 9 out of every 10 of those cases are type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. That means 30 million Americans must carefully manage their blood sugar levels daily. In observance of National Diabetes Month, here are 7 things you need to know about type 2 diabetes.

1. Diabetes affects the way your body treats sugar (glucose) in your blood. Your pancreas makes insulin, a hormone to turn glucose into energy, but if the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin or your cells become resistant to it, sugar begins to build up in your blood. When there is too much circulating glucose, your cells don’t receive enough energy, and over time, high blood sugar levels could possibly harm your eyes, nerves, heart, and kidneys.

2. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can sometimes be mild. It’s estimated that about 8 million people don’t even know that they have type 2 diabetes. Signs to watch for include: feeling tired, blurry vision, peeing a lot, being thirsty, recurring yeast infections, and tingling or numbness in your hands and feet.

3. About 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed every year with diabetes through a simple blood test performed by a doctor or health professional.

4. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be managed with healthy eating and increased physical activity, but often a doctor will prescribe an oral medication and possibly insulin to help keep blood sugar levels in check.

5. Some risk factors are uncontrollable, like if you’re over 45 years old and have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes, your genetics or age can’t be changed.; however, other risk factors are related to your daily habits and are manageable, including your weight, physical activity, stress level, and amount of sleep each night.

6. Behavior changes in your lifestyle can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Losing around 10 percent of your weight can slash your risk for developing diabetes in half. Experts also recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, like the strength training and cardio you get from a Curves workout, can help reduce your risk. Eat smart by avoiding trans and saturated fats, sugary sodas, and processed carbs. And, of course, quit smoking.

7. The National Institute of Health estimates 84.1 million adult Americans have prediabetes, meaning blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but just shy of being called diabetes. A progression to a type 2 diabetes diagnosis can be delayed and even prevented altogether with behavior changes in your day-to-day routine–abstaining from processed, sugary food, moving more, and setting a healthy weight loss goal.

A type 2 diabetes diagnosis can feel crushing. If someone you know has diabetes, it’s recommended that you are sensitive to others and refrain from labeling. A positive reaction would be to offer your support by joining in healthy lifestyle habits and recognize how difficult it might be to regularly monitor and manage blood sugar levels. It is always a good idea to refrain from offering unsolicited diet advice.