6 Surprising Facts about Type 2 Diabetes

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6 Surprising Facts about Type 2 Diabetes

What’s your blood sugar level? It’s a question a lot more people should be asking as type 2 diabetes continues to impact more lives.

Why? Over 34 million children and adults have diabetes in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association. But that’s not the whole story. An estimated 88 million adults have prediabetes.

Here’s another way to look at this rapidly growing chronic disease…

  • Every 21 seconds an adult is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S.
  • Nearly half of all adults have diabetes or prediabetes

Chances are pretty good you have diabetes or you know someone who does. But there’s still a lot of people who don’t know a lot about diabetes. FYI...it’s not just a condition old people need to worry about.

Here are 6 surprising facts about type 2 diabetes.

1. There is no cure for diabetes

When your body can’t manage blood sugar levels effectively, there’s a problem with insulin levels needed to help regulate fluctuations.

Sometimes the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin. Or your body becomes insulin resistant. Without insulin, your body can’t control blood sugar levels. Medication and lifestyle changes can help, but there is no cure.

2. Diabetes is growing rapidly

It wasn’t that long ago that diabetes was primarily a chronic disease that seniors should be aware of.

 But that’s been changing rapidly as more people become overweight or obese, live a sedentary lifestyle, and eat the typical Standard American Diet (Looking for Diabetic-Friendly meals?). More middle-aged adults, teens, and children are developing diabetes. 

These are major risk factors for developing diabetes.

  • Weight gain: 73 percent of adults are overweight or obese
  • Lack of exercise: Only 23 percent of adults get the minimum amount of exercise recommended per day (150 minutes per week)
  • Vegetable consumption: Only 9 percent of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables (about 2-3 cups per day)
  • Fruit consumption: Only 12 percent of adults eat the recommended amount of fruit per day *about 1-3 cups)
  • Want to eat healthier to control diabetes? Check out our Diabetic-Friendly menu.

3. There are no immediate warning signs

Let’s say you catch a cold. Within a few days, you experience the symptoms. So you rest up, drink plenty of fluids, and stick to eating healthy.

Makes sense, right? With diabetes, there typically aren’t any warning signs for years. And that’s a problem. It’s slowing wreak havoc on your body, and you don’t even know it.

You just feel off. Maybe you’re tired all the time, have major food cravings, or you’re often thirsty.

The only way to find out if you have diabetes is with a simple blood test. If you’re overweight or you’re older than 45, see your doctor or schedule a blood test to check your blood sugar levels.

If you have diabetes, you can take action to control it before it gets worse.

4. Diabetes can lead to serious health problems

So what happens if you have diabetes, but you don’t do anything about it?

Unlike a cold that typically resolves itself in a couple of weeks, diabetes keeps getting worse and damaging your body, even if you don’t feel anything. 

Left unchecked, diabetes can lead to:

  • Vision loss
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amputations

5. Some people are more likely to develop diabetes

While diabetes appears in every age group and demographic, there are a few things people who develop diabetes have in common. Your risk for diabetes goes up if:

  • You are overweight or obese
  • You carry excess fat around your stomach (vs. the legs or bottom)
  • You’re not very active
  • You have a family history of diabetes
  • You had gestational diabetes while pregnant
  • You’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes
  • Your race is Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian American background
  • You’re 45 or older
  • You have high blood fat levels and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  • You have a history of high blood pressure

6. You can manage or reverse diabetes

Even though diabetes is a rapidly-growing chronic disease, it’s largely preventable. And if you already have diabetes, you can manage diabetes. Here’s how:
  • Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you need to
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Avoid or limit sugary drinks and foods
  • Avoid or limit foods high in saturated fats (like red meat and fried foods)
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Don’t smoke, or quit if you do
  • Check your blood sugar levels regularly

If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medication to help regulate blood sugar levels. But it’s often not enough. Your diet and healthy lifestyle habits can make a big difference to help your body control blood sugar levels.