Diabetes: Are You at Risk?

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Diabetes affects some 30 million Americans. Nearly 25 percent of people living with diabetes are unaware they have it. The numbers continue to rise with another 84 million estimated to be pre-diabetic. All in all, as many as 120 million Americans have diabetes or are at high risk of having the disease.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose, your main source of energy, is produced from food. The pancreas makes insulin that helps move glucose from food into your cells to be used for energy. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas makes too little or no insulin or the body becomes resistant to effects of the hormone.

The two most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Type 1 occurs when the body stops producing insulin. When this happens, patients must take insulin daily. It can develop at any age but is typically diagnosed in children and young adults.

Type 2, the most common type, occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body does not absorb it properly. While typically occurring in older adults, as obesity rates increase, it is becoming more common in children and young adults.

Warning signs

Some signs or symptoms of diabetes are:

Increased thirst or hunger


Increased urination, especially at night

Unexplained weight loss

Blurred vision

Sores that don’t heal

Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

If you are showing symptoms or have significant risk for diabetes, talk with your doctor about getting tested. When diagnosed early, you can often prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes. You can lower risks by:

Losing weight. You can often prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight.

Moving more. Exercising moderately 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week significantly reduces risk.

Eating healthy foods. Eat smaller portions and low-fat foods to reduce calories. Limit fast foods, and drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

Thibodaux Regional Diabetes Self-Management Services offer comprehensive services, including WellFit Diabetes Care, and a number of instructional and educational programs for patients with diabetes. WellFit Diabetes Care integrates medical care with wellness to help you manage the condition and lower your risks to give you the highest quality, most active lifestyle possible.