Can I have Diabetes and Not Know It?

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Most people with prediabetes are usually not aware that they have the condition in the first place. Prediabetes is a medical state or condition that most often precede type 2 diabetes, it can be managed if some lifestyle changes are made early on.

Prediabetes, also referred to as impaired glucose tolerance, generally does not give or provide any form of symptom. It typically occurs when the blood sugar (glucose) levels in the body are quite high compared to the norm, but not enough to qualify as diabetes (see below). As a medical condition, prediabetes is a serious concern since it affects quite a lot of people, up to 79 million Americans adults are estimated to be living with it.

On a positive note however, for those that are already diagnosed with the prediabetes condition, it is quite possible to prevent or delay the onset or occurrence of the full-blown diabetes (type 2) disease. A research study that was led by NIH, the institute of health indicated that with some changes like increases in physical activities and improvement in food choices, the research participants were able to lose some weight which reduces their risks of becoming ill with diabetes (type 2) by 58%. A lot of factors may increase the risk of having prediabetes and ultimately diabetes (type 2). To know your own risk, you may want to review the following list on what may be relevant to you

  1. Forty-five years old or more
  2. Overweight
  3. Sibling or parent has diabetes
  4. Your family line/background is Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander or American Indian
  5. You had diabetes when you were pregnant or had a baby that weighed at least 9 pounds
  6. You are physically active about less than 3 times in a week

Diabetes (type 2) generally occurs when enough insulin is not being produced by the body or when the body’s cells are ignoring or not making use of insulin. Diabetes has some symptoms that could identify it unlike prediabetes, although such symptoms may go undiagnosed simply because a lot of them may seem/appear harmless. A small change in the way your body feels may not necessarily be an issue for concern, however whenever you happen to notice two or more of such symptoms in your body, you should ideally visit the doctor. You should generally ask yourself these

  • Are you losing weight even without trying and feeling hungrier and thirstier?
  • Do you generally feel weaker and more fatigued than the norm?

If you have recently started to exercise more such changes should generally be expected. However if your exercise and diet patterns have more or less remain the same, then you will need to discuss such changes with a doctor.

  • Are you having any form of recurring gum or skin infections or experiencing some blurred visions?
  • Have you generally noticed that your bruises and cuts typically take some longer time to heal up?
  • Are you feeling any tingling/tingles in your legs, feet or hands or urinating more frequently than the norm?

Each of these may seem unimportant initially, especially when they are taken in isolation. However if you are experiencing a combination of any of them, you should generally not ignore it.  The main contributing factor to developing/having diabetes (type 2) is obesity. Hence losing up to 5 to 7 percent of your body weight and reducing your calorie and fat intake, and increasing your level of physical activities to about 150 minutes weekly, can essentially help in preventing or delaying the onset or occurrence of the disease.

Eating healthily can help a lot too. You should generally ensure that your diet is filled with a lot of vegetables, fresh fruits, dairy (with low fat), whole grain and protein (from lean sources). Keeping to some reduced calorie and heart healthy meal plan should generally help your efforts to lose weight, and may also help to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the process.

You can increase your level of physical activities by taking on some activities like cycling, swimming, brisk walking, climbing stairs for about 150 minutes each week. Exercising is a useful tool that can aid your efforts to lose weight, it can also be valuable to your emotional health, lungs and heart.