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Could You Have Diabetes and Not Know It?

More than 34 million Americans have diabetes. It’s a metabolic disorder that causes high blood sugar and increases your risk of health complications, including obesity and nerve damage.

Staying healthy and avoiding complications starts with getting your diabetes under control and managing your symptoms. But did you know that nearly 20% of people with diabetes don’t know they have it?

Undiagnosed diabetes is common, but Sudha Challa, MD, and our team at Lenox Medical Clinic are here to help you take control of your health. Our primary care team specializes in diagnosing diabetes and developing management plans to keep it in check.

Early symptoms of diabetes are often so mild, it’s easy to miss the warning signs. Learn to recognize your risk factors, spot those early warning signs, and get regular physical exams to make sure you’re not living with undiagnosed diabetes.

Risk factors for diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 are the most common forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes because it’s often diagnosed in childhood. The causes of type 1 diabetes aren’t well-understood, but the condition may be linked to genetic and environmental factors.

Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood. Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, but certain factors could increase your risk. This type of diabetes develops with a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors.

Common risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

Some risk factors, like your age and family history, can’t be changed. But making healthy lifestyle changes, like getting more exercise and working toward a healthy weight, could reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

Early warning signs of diabetes

If you have diabetes, high blood sugar triggers changes in your body over time. You might not notice changes at first, but the longer the condition goes untreated, the more severe your symptoms may get.

A few of the most common early signs of diabetes are increased thirst, increased urination, and increased hunger. You might notice weight changes, too. Some people find that increased hunger causes weight gain, but others may notice unexplained weight loss.

As diabetes progresses, uncontrolled high blood sugar can cause nerve damage. You might notice tingling or numbness in your hands or feet, blurry vision, or even slow-healing wounds.

Prediabetes vs. diabetes

Prediabetes is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. It affects about 88 million American adults. If you have prediabetes, you’re likely to develop type 2 diabetes within the next five years.

There’s no cure for diabetes, so receiving a prediabetes diagnosis can be scary. But it’s important to know that prediabetes doesn’t mean that developing diabetes is inevitable. In fact, prediabetes is reversible with the right medical care.

Treatment plans for prediabetes often include lifestyle adjustments like eating a balanced diet and participating in physical activities most days of the week. Treating prediabetes reduces your risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes is a common — and serious — health condition, but managing it helps you keep enjoying your best health. Find out more about your risk with a comprehensive exam at Lenox Medical Clinic. Contact us online or over the phone for your first appointment.

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