Type 2 diabetes is one of the most prevalent health problems in the United States, affecting up to 14% of the population, which is an increase from the early 1990s, when only about 10% of the population was affected. Part of the reason for this increase is diabetes screening, which is diagnosing cases earlier on – but there are also widespread lifestyle factors that may be driving up the number of patients with diabetes, who may experience a number of health complications down the road without effective treatment to keep blood glucose in check. Even with an increase in screening, however, there are still many undiagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes that could be the cause of nerve damage, blindness, heart disease, and stroke. Keep reading to learn more about your diabetes risk and the measures you should take to manage your health.
Undiagnosed cases of diabetes
A recent report from Reuters Health indicates that about one third of cases of adult onset, or type 2, diabetes go undiagnosed in the United States. In Hispanic and Asian populations, the numbers are even more shocking with more than half of all cases going undiagnosed. Increased awareness of diabetes risk factors and screening guidelines can reduce the number of undiagnosed cases, which will facilitate more effective management of this disease. On its current course, diabetes is estimated to be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.
Type 2 diabetes warning signs
Certain factors can drive up an individual’s risk for diabetes and indicate the need for regular screening. Individuals who are overweight or obese and carry most of their weight in the belly rather than the hips and thighs are at the highest risk for type 2 diabetes and related health complications such as metabolic syndrome. Certain symptoms like fatigue, slow healing wounds and bruises, numbness in the extremities, frequent thirst, and frequent urination may also point to type 2 diabetes. Estimating blood glucose over time by measuring hemoglobin molecules in the red blood cells (A1c) will indicate diabetes and pre-diabetes, which is present in about 38% of adults.
Diabetes prevention guidelines
Prevention is the best strategy for treating diabetes, because diabetes does not have a cure. While there are strategies that can help manage diabetes, prevention is a much more effective strategy. Behavioral changes such as increased physical activity, dietary changes, and regular medical checkups can regulate blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes.
If you are concerned about your health risks, connect with a physician from the comfort of home using MeMD. You can also browse our blog for healthy recipes and fitness tips that will help you take charge of your health.