Know Your Diabetes Risk or Be One of the Six Million Who Don’t

The American Diabetes Association says 6 million adults have type 2 diabetes and don’t know it.

In the simplest terms, type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by too much sugar in your blood. The main cause is resistance of your muscle, liver and fat cells to the hormone insulin.

If your blood is tested for glucose and insulin levels and they are higher than normal, you are prediabetic. If the levels are a lot higher, you are a type 2 diabetic.

Type 1 diabetes comes from your own immune system attacking the beta cells in your pancreas. In infants and small children this happens quickly. But in a teenager or adult it can take years to lose all of your insulin-making beta cells.

When your blood is tested for glucose and insulin, glucose will be high but insulin will probably be lower. That is Glucofort one way to tell adult onset type 1 from type 2 diabetes.

Since a blood test is the only way to be sure diabetes is present, it makes both type 1 and type 2 diabetes able to sneak up on you. This is why knowing your diabetes risk is so important.

More Reasons to Know Your Diabetes Risk

Almost 10% of people in the U.S. have diabetes, and another 7 million are probably unaware they have it. There are 79 million prediabetics here.

One in 400 of people under 20 have diabetes. Over 20 years old the number becomes one in ten. Over 65 that number jumps to one in four.

More than half of diabetic death certificates list heart disease as the first cause. Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness and kidney disease. Three out of four diabetics have nervous system disorders, also called neuropathy.

Over half of amputations not caused by trauma are done on diabetics. These are the things we diabetics who are getting older have to face as possibilities.

It has been proven over and over that early and sustained blood sugar control lowers the risk of complications. But if you are one of the 79 million who are blissfully unaware of your high blood sugar, the statistics are going to catch up with you.

Know Your Risk

The number one risk factor is your family history. Twins are used to assess this risk for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. If one twin has type 1 diabetes the second has a 50% chance of having it also. If one twin develops type 2, the other has a 75% chance of becoming type 2 diabetic.

Genetics also plays a role in diabetes. For type 2 the risk increases if your family tree includes any of these genes: African American, Alaskan native, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic/Latino.

The white European races have a higher risk of type 1 diabetes. And people who live in colder climates are more at risk for getting type 1. Finlanders have four times as many type 1 diabetics as we do in the U.S. and 400 times more than Venezuela.

Some viruses can trigger the autoimmune response that leads to type 1 diabetes. Some of these viruses can directly destroy pancreatic beta cells. The known viruses include Epstein-Barre, mumps and cytomegalovirus, and there are probably more.

Other possible risk factors haven’t been proven conclusively but here are a few. Low vitamin D, not enough omega-3 fatty acids, nitrates in drinking water, and newborn jaundice seem to increase the risks for type 1.

The sooner you get on insulin and regulate your blood sugar levels, the fewer complications you will suffer in your eyes, heart, kidneys and neurological system. Right now there is no other treatment for type 1 diabetes.

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