You may not know this, but 34 million Americans have diabetes, and 95% of them have Type 2 diabetes, an illness that’s often brought on by diet and lifestyle habits. The good news is, if you catch the disease early, you may be able to adopt healthy lifestyle changes and reverse the condition.
At Essential Medical Clinic in the Westlake, Downtown, and Athens neighborhoods of Los Angeles, our doctors, Sultan Shah, MD, and Pouya Bahrami, DO, are here to cover all of your health care needs. Many Americans have diabetes and aren’t even aware they have it. So that’s why Dr. Shah and Dr. Bahrami want you to know the symptoms and risk factors of the disease and the steps you can take if you have it.
How diabetes starts
Diabetes occurs when the sugar in your blood doesn’t get processed properly, so it builds up in your blood. Normally, a hormone called insulin moves the sugar in your blood to the cells of your muscles and other tissues to give them energy. The problem begins when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or your cells begin to resist the insulin.
In the early stages, the condition is called prediabetes, and there may not be any noticeable symptoms. The only way to tell for sure if you have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes is to get your blood sugar levels checked by a doctor.
Risk factors and symptoms
Type 2 diabetes is an illness that’s often brought on by lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors, including:
- Carrying excess weight
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Having high blood pressure
- Having high cholesterol
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome
- Having a family history of diabetes
Your risk of developing the condition can also increase as you age, so you may want to have your blood sugar levels tested at your annual physical if you’re of a more advanced age.
The reason that many people may not initially know that they have Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes is that symptoms may not show up right away. You may only start experiencing noticeable symptoms when the disease gets into its later stages. Some of the symptoms could include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Extreme hunger
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Sores that are slow to heal
- Frequent infections
If you start experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you should come into Essential Medical Clinic as soon as possible. The sooner we can make a diagnosis, the sooner we can aim to halt or reverse the condition.
Managing or reversing diabetes
If you only have prediabetes, meaning that the illness is in its early stages, then you should be able to reverse it and keep it from progressing to Type 2 diabetes by making a few lifestyle changes, including:
- Losing weight
- Exercising more
- Eating healthier
- Managing your stress levels
If you have Type 2 diabetes, we’ll develop a care plan to help you manage your condition, and, if possible, reverse it. Treating Type 2 diabetes could include doing the steps above and also incorporating diabetes medications or insulin therapy.
If you think you might be diabetic and want to get tested, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Essential Medical Clinic today.
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