Health issues taken at face value – such as being overweight or having low energy levels – can be masking greater healthcare concerns. Underlying conditions like diabetes often create noticeable symptoms that individuals, often through no fault of their own, can misinterpret.
The treatment of a symptom won’t resolve a disease. Therefore, it is important to analyze what the body is verbalizing, but also to look beneath the surface to uncover the root cause of the issue.
What Are The Risk Factors to Being Diabetic?
As there are two forms of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, the risk factors differ. Let’s walk through that differentiation.
Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factors
- Family History – Having a family member with type 1 increases the likelihood of having the disease.
- Genetics – The presence of certain genes increases the risk of type 1 diabetes being present (hence, the family history risk factor).
- Geography – Type 1 is more prevalent further away from the equator.
- Age – The peak age of diagnosis is 14, although some cases do not become apparent until th 30’s or even 40’s..
- Health History – Risk or concurrent diagnosis of autoimmune disease.
Type 2 Risk Factors
- Weight – Being overweight is often a leading risk factor for the disease.
- Fat distribution – Storing fat in the abdomen leads to an increased chance in the development of type 2 diabetes.
- Inactivity – By being less active, cells are more likely to become insulin resistant.
- Family History – Having a direct relative like a sibling or parent with type 2, also increases the chance of developing the disease.
- Race – As the direct causation is still unknown, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American populations are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Prediabetes – Having higher than normal blood sugar levels is an indicator of fully formed diabetes in development.
- Liver Complications – Issues surrounding the liver can be a risk factor for diabetes.
Diabetic Symptoms to Look Out For
- Frequent urination
- Strong sensations of thirst and hunger
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing for cuts or bruises
- Unintended weight loss
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
(Various tests can be conducted to determine your status for diabetes.)
Testing for Diabetes
It is strongly advised to be tested for diabetes. At Hill Functional Wellness we are equipped to test and treat your possible diabetic status. Upon visiting our practice we will conduct a variety of blood labs to ensure the most accurate diagnosis is provided. It is imperative to have an accurate look at the function of the body (your physiology) to determine your condition.
Discovering What Your Blood is Saying
Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test: This test measures the blood glucose level at a single point in time.
- A healthy normal blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL after not eating for 8 to 12 hours.
A1C Test: The A1C test takes a broad look at blood glucose levels spanning the past 90-120 days.
- A healthy A1C level registers below 5.7 percent. Between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, a person is considered prediabetic, and over 6.5 percent is diabetic.
Random Plasma Glucose (RPG) Test: This test does not require fasting, and can be taken at any time.
- A test that yields a result of 200 mg/dL or higher shows that a person may be diabetic.
- This test is not standard in our office, as it is subject to many variables that are difficult to account for, and can yield false positives/negatives too easily.
It is important to note that for clinical purposes, we oftentimes tighten the “normal” window for these numbers to aid in preventative detection instead of waiting until full-blown disease status is on the radar.
Type 1, Type 2, or Prediabetic?
Two types of diabetes exist that can manifest similarly from a symptom standpoint, but their underlying pathophysiology is very different.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes stems from destruction of the pancreas (or, more specifically, the beta cells of the pancreas), where insulin is produced. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas ceases to generate any insulin for the body and thus prevents glucose (sugar) from being able to enter cells to be utilized or stored.
This form of diabetes is a disease of autoimmune origin. This means that for whatever particular reason for an individual, the body’s immune system attacks these beta cells, causing their destruction. Once complete destruction occurs, the condition cannot be reversed, and the mode of treatment becomes management through externally administered insulin. Type 1 diabetes can appear at any age but is typically active by young adulthood.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a developed form of insulin resistance. With more than 3 million new cases per year in the United States, the concern for this disease has reached epidemic levels. Insulin is still produced in type 2, but the body becomes desensitized to it. When this occurs, insulin becomes unable to handle sizable quantities of glucose in the bloodstream, and leaves it free to circulate at concentrations much higher than what is healthy for body tissues.
It is estimated that it can take a runway of about 6-10 years to fully develop type 2 diabetes. As the disease progresses, sustained increase in blood glucose leads to damage of many types of tissue – distal limb neuropathy (feet and hands), eye retinopathy, kidney nephropathy, fatty liver changes, cardiovascular inflammatory issues (stroke, heart attack, heart disease). This is the pernicious nature of why diabetes is so dangerous to ignore or simply manage.
As the more common form of diabetes, type 2 can be treated and reversed with proper diet, exercise, and monitoring.
Over 84 million Americans are living with prediabetes, yet nearly 90 percent are not aware of their status, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Preventing prediabetes from progressing into fully formed diabetes starts with lowering blood sugar levels to a healthy range. This can be accomplished through dedicated actions similar to the treatment plan for type 2.
It is very important to catch diabetes at an early stage. The earlier it is detected, the easier it is to make an impact on it, and the less likely it will be that it causes irreversible damage.
Know Your Diabetic Status Today
Hill Functional Wellness is dedicated to serving you and your desire to live a healthy life. Being proactive by monitoring your symptoms and understanding your lab numbers can help prevent diabetic onset.
Learn today how Hill Functional Wellness can help identify and address your specific status through the use of lifestyle and nutrition. Why establish a relationship with diabetes if you don’t have to?