What you need to know: Diabetes

National Diabetes Month: Find out signs, symptoms of disease

November marks National Diabetes Month, and with more and more people seemingly being diagnosed with the disease, what symptoms should you look out for and when should you call a doctor?

First there are two types of diabetes -- Type 1 and Type 2. So what is the difference?

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes was formally called juvenile diabetes or insulin-depended diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic

There is no cure for Type 1 and usually is diagnosed during childhood, but adults can also develop it and happens when the pancreas makes little to no insulin, the Mayo Clinic said

Insulin is a hormone that allows sugar, or glucose, to go into cells and make energy for your body.

Type 1 is caused by genetics or exposure to viruses and other environmental factors. 

There are multiple complications attributed to Type 1 diabetes including heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, skin and mouth conditions, and pregnancy complications, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. 

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Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is more common than Type 1, the National Institute of Health says.

It happens when your blood sugar or blood glucose is too high. 

But Type 2 diabetes is preventable or the disease's development can be delayed, the NIH said.

Anyone of any age can develop Type 2 diabetes, but most of the time, people who are middle-aged with a family history of the disease are more at risk, according to the NIH.

It also affects people who are overweight or obese and is more common in people who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander, the NIH said.

If you are physically inactive, have other health problems, are prediabetic or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, you also have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

There is also a genetic component to Type 2 diabetes, according to the NIH.

Symptoms of diabetes

Experts at the NIH said there are a handful of symptoms you should watch out for including:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Tired feeling
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in feet or hands
  • Wounds that do not heal
  • Unexplained weight loss

The American Diabetes Association has a test you can take to see if you at risk of developing diabetes.

Prevention of Type 2 diabetes

There are ways you can prevent developing diabetes. First, lose weight. Set a goal to lose 5 to 7 percent of your current weight, the NIH suggests. Second, get 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week. But first, speak to your doctor if you are not active. Finally, watch your diet. Eat smaller portions and lower your daily calorie intake. Eat less fat and drink water instead of sweet beverages, the NIH suggests.

Click here for more suggestions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recognizes some diabetes prevention lifestyle change programs. To find either an in-person or online program, click here

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