Diabetes: Risks and Warning Signs

November is American Diabetes Month (ADM), a time to raise awareness and talk about preventing and managing diabetes.

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and an additional 84 million people in the U.S. are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This month, we’re reviewing how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while living with diabetes.

Along with ADM, Thanksgiving is also in November! If you have a loved one with diabetes or you’re just looking to lighten up your Thanksgiving feast this year, we have you covered!

Five Healthier Thanksgiving Staples from Foolproof Living

  1. Fall Harvest Salad – roasted pecans, goat cheese, kale, and more make for a delicious hearty salad.
  2. Cornbread Stuffing – packed with veggies and a kick with jalapeno cheddar cornbread.
  3. Mashed Sweet Potatoes – a seven ingredient stove-top recipe that’s ready in just 40 minutes.
  4. Maple Cranberry Almond Tart – top off this lighter dessert with crème fraiche for a sweet treat.
  5. Pumpkin Pie Crumble – pair a slice of pie with a hot cup of coffee to end your meal on a flavorful note.

Five Vegetable Side Dishes from Food & Wine:

  1. Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
  2. Roasted Cauliflower with Green Olives and Pine Nuts
  3. Braised Greens with Crispy Garlic and Miso Butter
  4. Charred Green Beans and Roasted Beets
  5. Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Diabetes Awareness

Type 1 vs. Type 2

Type 1 is the most common form of diabetes in people under the age of 30 and makes up 10 percent of all cases. Type 1 occurs when beta cells, the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, are damaged. Type 2 diabetes, or adult-onset diabetes, occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin does not work properly. This type is found most often in people 40 years and older and makes up for nine out of 10 cases of all diabetes.

There are few risk factors for Type 1 outside of family history and the presence of damaging immune system cells. However, there are many risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes, some that we can control.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes:

  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Weight – your cells become more resistant to insulin the more fatty tissue you have.
  • Inactivity – the less active you are, the higher your risk.
  • Age – as you get older, your risk increases.
  • Ethnicity – Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian American people are at higher risk.

Warning Signs

Prediabetes is a condition in which a person doesn’t have diabetes yet, but their blood glucose levels are higher than average. Someone with prediabetes and high glucose levels is not only at risk for developing diabetes, but also heart disease.

These 12 warning signs and symptoms of diabetes are found in both men and women:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Blurred vision
  3. Nausea
  4. Irritability
  5. Frequent urination
  6. Slow-healing wounds
  7. Skin infections
  8. Weight loss or gain
  9. Excessive thirst and hunger
  10. Fruity, sweet, or acetone breath odor
  11. Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  12. Darkening of skin in areas of the body creases

Helping Diabetics

Sometimes, people can have what’s called a “diabetes attack” if their blood sugar is too high or too low. Someone experiencing a diabetes attack might become anxious, incoherent, or extremely fatigued. It’s important to determine which is the case—high or low blood sugar—so they can be properly treated.

Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar:

  • Hunger
  • Sweating
  • Paleness
  • Confusion, disorientation, or weakness
  • Aggression
  • Irritability

Signs and symptoms of high blood sugar levels include:

  • Hot and/or dry skin
  • Thirst
  • Frequent need to urinate 

You can help someone experiencing an attack by giving them water, seeking medical help, and helping them locate their insulin. However, you should never administer insulin for them.

If you are a loved one are experiencing symptoms of a diabetes attack, or complications due to diabetes, we are here to help. Our highly trained staff is ready to assist you in the most effective and efficient way possible. We stay open 24/7, 365 days a year—including holidays! Emergencies are never convenient, so we make sure our hours are.

This November, we’re extra thankful for our amazing community, and we wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!