In any group of people, the odds are very good that prediabetes and diabetes are somewhere in the mix. Of concern is that about 1 in 3 people in the United States has prediabetes, yet 80% are unaware of the potentially dangerous condition. Further, about 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes, yet 1 in 5 doesn’t know it.
At Temecula Medical Group, our experienced and skilled medical team, including Dr. Richard H. Rawson, Ryan D. Rowan, PA-C, and Armanda L. Alvarez, FNP-C, wants to ensure that our patients understand the threat that diabetes poses.
Here, we review some key facts we want you to know about prediabetes and diabetes.
An insulin issue
The first thing we want to cover is how diabetes affects your health. For this discussion, we focus on the far more prevalent type 2 diabetes. With this type of diabetes, you develop insulin resistance, and your body doesn't produce enough of the hormone to overcome the resistance.
Your pancreas produces insulin, and the hormones patrol your blood, picking up sugars and delivering them to your cells, which use the sugar as energy. This regulates blood sugar levels, and any excess is stored in your liver.
When there’s too much sugar in your blood, your pancreas creates more insulin, and the more it creates, the more your cells become resistant to the hormone. When you develop insulin resistance, your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to overcome the resistance, and you’re left with dangerously high levels of sugar in your blood.
There are no symptoms at first
When you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are high, but you haven’t crossed over into diabetes yet, which is mostly a point of no return.
The problem with prediabetes is that there are generally no symptoms of higher-than-normal blood sugar levels and developing insulin resistance. This explains why 80% of the 96 million adults in the US who have prediabetes are unaware of the condition.
Unfortunately, many only first become aware once they’ve crossed over into diabetes, and they begin to experience some of the complications (more on these in a moment).
So, we urge you to come to see us regularly for physical exams so that we can run simple blood tests to check for prediabetes.
The great news is that if you qualify as prediabetic, we can take swift action to prevent crossing over into diabetes.
The serious complications of diabetes
To provide you with a little incentive to see us regularly for blood sugar monitoring, here’s a list of some of the more serious complications of diabetes:
- Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)
- Vision loss
- Gum disease
- Cardiovascular disease
Thanks to nerve damage and poor cardiovascular health, you’re at greater risk for infections that don’t heal, especially in areas farthest from your heart, like your feet. As a result, you’re at risk for lower limb amputation — there are about 100,000 lower limb amputations in the US each year, and more than half are attributable to type 2 diabetes.
While we don’t like to use scare tactics to get your attention, we find they may be necessary when it comes to prediabetes and diabetes. Not only can we prevent a diagnosis with a few lifestyle changes, but if you cross over into diabetes, we can work together to avoid complications.
For comprehensive (and preventive) diabetes care, please contact our Temecula, California, office to schedule an appointment.