Diabetes is a serious problem in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million people have the disease in which levels of blood sugar are above normal. The disease affects the body’s ability to convert glucose into energy when the pancreas does not produce adequate amounts insulin or because the cells do not process insulin properly. High levels of blood sugar damages nerves and blood vessels leading to complications such as heart and kidney disease, stroke, blindness, and limb amputation.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type One and Type Two. Type One is also known as juvenile diabetes and presents in children and teens. Type Two diabetes known as adult-onset is the most common form of the disease. While people can develop Type Two at any age, it usually begins with insulin resistance. The body requires insulin to help transform sugar into energy. Over time, as the disease begins to take hold the pancreas loses its ability to produce the required amount of insulin in response to food intake.
Research into the causes Type Two diabetes continues at a strong pace. Recent findings have concluded that there are risk factors involved with contracting diabetes and the incidences increase as the numbers of factors increase. While the following list is by no means comprehensive, it provides a good starting point to determine whether or not you may be at risk for Type Two diabetes:
- Family History: the occurrences of the disease increase if it runs in your family.
- Age: Individuals over 40 have shown an increased risk profile.
- Race: Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Asians have an increased chance of contracting Type Two diabetes.
- Weight and General Health: Patients having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and are in poor health may have a higher chance of suffering from a diabetic condition.
- Hypertension: defined as high blood pressure, hypertension is a contributing factor.
- Abnormally high or low cholesterol levels: High Density Lipids (HDL) or good cholesterol levels that are low coupled with elevated triglyceride and Low Density Lipids (LDL), or bad cholesterol levels also increases your risk.
If you have one or more of these risk factors, it would be time well spent to have a diabetes screening.