Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. It causes blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and other health problems if it’s not controlled. Approximately 84 million American adults are living with prediabetes, so it’s important to know diabetes warning signs.
Prediabetes is a serious health condition because your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. It’s serious because nearly half of all people living with prediabetes develop diabetes within 10 years. What’s even scarier is of those with prediabetes, 90 percent don’t know they have it and they are at risk for other health issues like high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
The good news is you don’t have to let it get that far. You can dramatically decrease your risk by recognizing risk factors and making some lifestyle changes. Here are the diabetes warning signs to look out for and how to reduce your risk of developing the disease.
Diabetes Warning Signs to Know
If you’re wondering what diabetes warning signs may apply to you, try asking yourself these questions:
- Am I overweight with a body mass index higher than 25? (Here’s a free BMI calculator)
- Does diabetes run in your family?
- Are you a member of a minority group, such as African-American, Latino, American Indian or Pacific Islander?
- Do you live a sedentary lifestyle?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Are you age 45 or older?
- Have you suffered from gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be at risk for developing prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms That Are Diabetes Warning Signs
It’s good to know diabetes warning signs good because you can have prediabetes for years and have no symptoms. That’s why it often goes undetected until it’s too late and already developed into Type 2 diabetes. Some people might experience symptoms like:
- an increase in thirst excessive fatigue blurred vision
The only accurate way to tell if you are prediabetic is to speak with your doctor and schedule a blood glucose screening.
Decreasing Your Risk
The good news is that even if you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, it is often reversible with a few lifestyle changes. While you should speak with your doctor about a specific course of action, here are a few tips to get you started.
- Clean Up Your Diet: If a weight problem is contributing to your risk factors, develop a diabetes meal plan. Focus on eating whole foods that are low in fat and calories, but high in fiber. Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a good place to start.
- Lose Weight: Studies show losing just 7 percent of your body weight can cut your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in half.
- Get Active: Adding moderate exercise into your routine can help you lower your blood pressure and lose weight. Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Knowing the diabetes warning signs can help you focus on living a healthier lifestyle. Controlling the risk factors not only will decrease your chances of developing diabetes — you’ll also feel better.
For more information about the warning signs of diabetes and prediabetes, download our free guide, Dealing with Diabetes: Symptoms, Statistics and Solutions.