Diabetes is actually a group of diseases, including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes, that affect how your body processes blood sugar, or glucose. Proper use of glucose is essential for your health because it’s a source of energy for cells – which are the components of all the tissues, organs and muscles in your body. Glucose is also the primary fuel for your brain. The actual cause of diabetes varies by the type, but all types of diabetes can create excess glucose in your blood, which can lead to serious health problems.
According to the American Diabetes Association’s recommended screening guidelines, people with the following risk factors should be tested for diabetes.
- Anyone who has a body mass index (BMI) higher than 25.
- Asian-Americans with a BMI higher than 23.
- Anyone older than age 45 should have an initial blood sugar screening and continue to be tested every three years.
- Any woman who had gestational diabetes should be tested for diabetes every three years.
- Anyone who has been diagnosed with prediabetes should to be tested again every year.
Additional Risk Factors for Developing Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
Approximately 25% of those with Type 1 diabetes and 80% of those with Type 2 diabetes also have high blood pressure.
- High Cholesterol
High cholesterol has been linked to diabetes and tends to lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels while raising triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Sedentary Lifestyle
Not being active or getting enough exercise raises your risk of developing diabetes as well as your risk of obesity – which also increases your diabetes risk.
- History of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Because polycystic ovary syndrome can cause insulin resistance, it often leads to developing diabetes.
- Family History of Diabetes
While the relationship is still unclear, family history is a strong risk factor for developing diabetes.
While the exact cause of diabetes is complex, addressing the known risk factors you can control may dramatically reduce your chances of developing this disease. Stay active, eat a healthy diet, and control your blood pressure and cholesterol. Even small steps on your part – particularly if you have already been diagnosed with prediabetes – can make a huge difference.
If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes and need help or in-home care services, please reach out to us at Specialty Care Services. We have years of experience in helping patients with all types of diabetes.