According to the American Diabetes Association, of the 30 million Americans who have diabetes, 7 million don’t know it. So, yes, you most certainly can have diabetes and not know it. Without treatment, diabetes can increase your risk of developing other health issues, such as kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy, or heart disease.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition, but it can be managed. At Life Point Medical in Clayton, Georgia, our board-certified internal medicine physician, Dr. Timothy Scott Beck, and our experienced team, help patients throughout the Clayton, Georgia, area manage and even reverse Type 2 diabetes.
What is diabetes?
You’ve probably heard about a connection between diabetes and sugar, and that’s accurate. Despite the many myths, however, eating or drinking foods high in sugar doesn’t cause diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be. The sugar in your blood, also referred to as glucose, comes from the food you eat and acts as the primary source of energy for your cells. Insulin, which is made in your pancreas, assists in getting the sugar into your cells.
With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin (or any at all) or your body can’t properly use the insulin you do make. The type of diabetes you have indicates how your insulin is affected.
- Type 1 diabetes: Not enough insulin made
- Type 2 diabetes: Insulin not used correctly
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than Type 1 diabetes. Of those 30 million Americans with diabetes, only 1.25 million have Type 1.
The subtle symptoms of diabetes
The reason so many diabetes cases go undiagnosed is because people miss the symptoms. In people with Type 1 diabetes, the symptoms can come on like gangbusters: sudden and severe. But in Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms aren’t as apparent and you may dismiss them as something else.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Unexpected weight loss
- Increase in hunger and thirst
- Tingling in the hands or feet
- Blurry vision
- Sores that take a long time to heal
You may look at this list and have answers to all these symptoms that don’t point to diabetes. Maybe you’re stressed, which would explain the hunger, fatigue, or weight loss. Or, you think your blurry vision is just because you’re getting older and you simply need a pair of readers.
A simple blood test can determine if you have diabetes. In fact, we can run a blood test to look for risk factors that may indicate whether you’re at risk of developing diabetes, and we can help you make changes that may prevent its onset.
Tests for diabetes include:
Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test
The FPG test measures your blood sugar levels after an overnight fast, or at least eight hours of fasting. An elevated blood sugar of 126 mg/dL on two or more occasions may indicate you have diabetes.
The A1C test measures your average blood sugar over 2-3 months. An elevated A1C level of 6.5 may be used to diagnose diabetes.
Random plasma glucose (RPG) test
The RPG test measures your blood sugar level at any point in time. You don’t need to be fasting for this test. A blood sugar that measures 200 mg/dL or greater usually indicates diabetes.
These tests can also be used as screening tools to assess your risk for diabetes, which is referred to as prediabetes. Unlike diabetes, prediabetes is curable. Making lifestyle changes, including eating better, getting regular exercise, and losing weight, may help prevent your prediabetes from turning into diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition, but we can help you gain control over your blood sugar so it doesn’t lead to other complications. But we can’t help you if you don’t know you have diabetes. To get tested, give us a call at 706-534-6566 or use our online tool to request an appointment whenever you’re ready. We can’t wait to talk with you about all the benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.