Diabetes is a chronic health condition that results in excess blood sugar in the bloodstream. Your body either does not produce enough insulin, or it can’t use the insulin that it produces, to convert the sugar in your blood into usable energy. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes; about 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It takes years for type 2 diabetes to develop, and a person with diabetes may have the disease for years without realizing it. Knowing the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, and when you should talk to your doctor about screening for diabetes, can help you catch the disease in its earliest stages.1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes — 90% of them don't know it. Know what to look for and when to talk to your doctor about screening for type 2 diabetes. Click To Tweet
How do you know if you have diabetes?
The number of children and adolescents being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is increasing, but it is still most common in adults. One of the biggest issues with detecting the disease early on is that the symptoms of type 2 diabetes aren’t always noticeable. This is especially true if your symptoms are mild. You can have type 2 diabetes for years before being diagnosed with the disease.
Look for warning signs for diabetes:
- Frequent urination
- Constantly feeling thirsty
- Worsening vision
- Skin discoloration
- Frequent urinary tract infections or yeast infections
- Unintentional weight loss
People sometimes trivialize these symptoms, or maybe they don’t even notice them. Feeling thirsty or tired isn’t an unusual symptom, and a little weight loss or change in vision is easy to dismiss. However, a common mistake is dismissing symptoms until they become severe.
What happens if you don’t get checked for diabetes?
Again, it takes years for type 2 diabetes to develop, and most people have the disease for years before receiving a diagnosis. Some people who are diagnosed with diabetes for the first time already have organ damage.
Left untreated, diabetes can cause permanent damage and health complications. High blood sugar levels can damage nerves and lead to vision loss, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. The longer diabetes goes untreated, and the higher the blood glucose levels, the greater the risk for health complications.
When should you talk to your doctor about diabetes?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults ages 40 to 70 screen for diabetes; get a screening every three years if your test results are normal.
Watch for the warning signs for diabetes, and talk to your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
Learn the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. People at a higher risk for the disease should be even more aware of their symptoms, and talk to their doctor at the first sign of a problem.
- Being diagnosed with prediabetes increases a person’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- A family history of diabetes increases a person’s risk for the disease.
- Being overweight and living a sedentary or inactive lifestyle increase risk.
- People 45 or older are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure or hypertension increase the risk as well.
Your primary care provider can determine whether you should get a blood sugar test to screen for diabetes. Request an appointment with a doctor in Northwest Arkansas today.