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Diabetes in Americans – 34 Million People Have and 20% Don’t Even Know It Yet

doctor uses insulin test on an older male patient

20% Of People With Diabetes Don’t Know It Yet. Here Are the Signs to Look For

Diabetes is a serious condition that can have a lifelong impact. If left untreated, diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney and nerve damage, and even death. However, there is good news. There are many signs and symptoms of pre-Diabetes and Diabetes that you can look for. As medicine has advanced over the years, many medications and treatments are available to help people with diabetes live long, healthy lives. There are also several simple lifestyle changes you can make to prevent Diabetes from developing or worsening. It’s important to recognize the signs and seek treatment to prevent many of the condition’s complications and live a healthier life. This article intends to teach you the symptoms of diabetes before it’s too late.

What is Diabetes?

There are two main forms of diabetes, type I and II, which people of all ages can develop. Both forms of Diabetes are caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin or enough of it for the body to function correctly. The role of insulin is to regulate the glucose (sugar) in your blood. Too much blood sugar can cause damage to nerves, organs, and blood vessels.

What’s the Difference Between Type I and Type II

  • Type I is pre-determined and cannot be prevented. It can be treated, but you can not stop it from developing. It is essential for those with type I Diabetes to use a glucose monitor to test their blood regularly. You will need to take insulin if your blood sugar is high or take glucose (whether eaten or with an emergency injector) if your blood sugar is too low.
  • Type II can be the result of genetics but can also be the result of lifestyle choices. Type II Diabetes is more common than type I. With this type of Diabetes, the body cannot use insulin well or make insulin well. It is more likely to affect adults who are middle-aged or older. More than 90% of the 34 million Americans who have diabetes have type II.

Both, if left untreated, can lead to ketoacidosis, a life-threatening problem that occurs, causing the liver to process fat into a fuel (called ketones), causing the body to become acidic. This can lead to a variety of complications such as respiratory issues and lack of consciousness.

Signs and Symptoms to Watch For

20% of Americans who have diabetes don’t even know it yet. This is an alarming figure as, if left untreated, Diabetes can have a devastating effect on your overall health, and in some cases, can lead to death. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 people are prediabetic. In this stage, lifestyle changes can reverse Diabetes from advancing. Most pre-diabetics develop Type 2 Diabetes within ten years. If you recognize the symptoms during this time, there is hope that you can reverse a Diabetes diagnosis.

Here are some signs and symptoms of preDiabetes/Diabetes to look for:

  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Itchy Skin
  • Tingling hands and feet
  • Frequent Urination
  • Recurring infections
  • Unexplained weight loss

…and more

If you are concerned that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to reach out to your medical provider for a complete evaluation. It would be best to have your glucose levels checked during your annual physical. This is done with a simple blood test.

There Is Hope

It is not always possible to prevent Diabetes, but there are some things you can do to lower the risk.

  • Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle: Getting active can have significant benefits without requiring a hardcore gym session. Aerobic exercise is a great way to get fit! Just 30 minutes a day is all you need! This can include walking, biking, jogging, or swimming.
  • Losing weight if you are overweight: For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing just 15 pounds (7% of body weight) can reduce your risk of developing Diabetes by 60%!
  • Quitting smoking: Smokers are up to 40% more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes. Managing Diabetes is also more challenging as the nicotine found in cigarettes lessens the effectiveness of insulin. Now is the time to BUTT OUT!
  • Reducing refined carbohydrates and sugars in your diet: Skip the fad diets. Paleo, Keto, Glycemic Index, etc., may make you lose weight, but there isn’t enough long-term research on their effectiveness in preventing or managing Diabetes. Making healthier choices where possible is still the best choice. An easy step is to divide your plate into three parts: ½ for fruit and non -starchy vegetables, ¼ for whole grains, and the remaining ¼ of proteins.
  • Drinking water instead of sugary beverages: More than half of the human body is made up of water, and like a car that needs oil to function, our bodies need water to work. The general rule of thumb is to drink at least four 8oz glasses of water per day, but never limit yourself; if you feel thirsty, take a drink! Avoid sugary drinks, they will only contribute to dehydration!

Diabetes and the Link to Alzheimer’s Disease

Research has been performed to determine if there is a link between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. The connections aren’t yet well-understood, but the research does suggest that those with Diabetes have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia or other forms of dementia in the future.

Why would this happen? The most likely reason is that Diabetes has the potential to damage the body’s blood vessels. Reduced or blocked blood flow to the brain could lead to vascular dementia, for example. Diabetes also has an impact on how the body processes sugar (glucose). Since the brain and many other organs and tissues need glucose to work properly, the dysfunctional relationship could also be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Use National Diabetes Month To Find Out Your Risk Or Share Tools With Others

Risk Assessment Tool

If you are concerned that you or a loved one are at risk for developing Diabetes, please use this online screening tool. However, we always advise that the best medical advice should come from your doctor or medical professional.

A1C test

The A1C is an all-in-one blood sample test capable of determining if you are prediabetic and identifying an actual diabetic diagnosis. It can also be used to monitor your Diabetes over time. Read more about this powerhouse test here.


The American Diabetes Association is an excellent resource for Diabetes information. They have pages of blogs, articles, success stories, and scholarly publications that you can share on your social media or via email to your friends and family to promote awareness.

Contact Tribute Senior Living

Tribute Senior Living is focused on helping people. If you or a loved one are dealing with Diabetes or have questions about dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, we are here to help keep you informed. Contact us via our website or by calling us at 972-978-3999.

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