Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and it is estimated that seven million people in the U.S. are unaware they have it. The good news is that diabetes can be managed or prevented with a few lifestyle changes.
Those with diabetes are unable to make or properly use insulin. Certain risk factors place individuals at a higher risk for developing the most common form, type 2 diabetes.
Am I at Risk?
Certain risk factors place you at higher risk, including older age, obesity, a family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity and race or ethnicity. African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino-Americans, American Indians and some Asian-Americans and Native-Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes and its complications.
What are Symptoms of Diabetes?
Americans who are unaware they are living with diabetes may feel their symptoms are harmless and diabetes goes undiagnosed. Some people with type 2 diabetes suffer no symptoms at all. If you have any of the common symptoms of diabetes, please visit a healthcare physician:
- Extreme fatigue and irritability
- Unusual thirst and frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Frequent infections or cuts and bruises that heal slowly.
How Can I Prevent or Manage Diabetes?
Research has shown that weight loss through moderate diet changes and physical activity plays a large role in preventing or delaying diabetes and its complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage and other health problems. A registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is one of your best resources for developing a plan to make these lifestyle changes.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, a dietitian can create a simple eating plan tailored just for you, taking into account your weight, medicines, lifestyle and other health problems you may have. The expert advice of an RD or RDN can help you manage your diabetes while ensuring you get the nutrients your body needs. Consult an RD or RDN in your area »