Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are three different types:
- Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. With this type, the body doesn’t produce insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common form. With Type 2, the body doesn’t use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. You can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes by eating a healthful diet, staying active and other healthy lifestyle choices.
- Gestational diabetes may occur during pregnancy. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn’t mean you had diabetes before pregnancy or that you’ll have it after giving birth.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to work with your doctor and other care providers to manage it.
Another condition called prediabetes is a pre-cursor to Type 2 diabetes. With prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to qualify as diabetes. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to prevent or delay Type 2 from developing.
Not everyone with diabetes has noticeable symptoms. If you do, they may include:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry, even though you’re eating normally
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss, even though you are eating more (Type 1)
- Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands or feet (Type 2)
Talk with your doctor if you notice these symptoms.
Blood Sugar Monitoring
If your doctor is concerned about your blood sugar levels, he or she may suggest blood sugar monitoring. There are two ways to measure your blood sugar. The first is a blood sugar check that you can do yourself. It shows your blood sugar level at the time of the test. The second is the A1C test, which is done in a lab or at your health care provider’s office.
Annual Eye Exams
People with diabetes have a higher risk of certain eye problems than people without it. That’s why regular eye exams are so important if you have diabetes. Experts recommend annual eye exams, with pupil dilation. You should also let your doctor know if you have any changes in your vision, including:
- Having blurry vision.
- Seeing black lines or spots.
- Seeing red spots or red fog.
- Seeing rings around lights or flashing lights.
Control Blood Pressure
About 70 percent of adults with diabetes have high blood pressure or use prescription medications to lower high blood pressure. High blood pressure raises your risk for heart attack, stroke, eye problems and kidney disease. If you have high blood pressure, work with your provider to find a treatment plan for you. Treatment may include healthy lifestyle changes and medicine. Lifestyle changes may include eating a healthy diet, getting physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking.