For patients living with diabetes:
Know Your ‘ABCS’
People with diabetes can prevent complications and live longer and healthier lives by knowing and controlling their ‘ABCS’:
- A1C (3-month average blood sugar level): Less than 7%.
- Blood pressure: Less than 130/80.
- Cholesterol: LDL (“bad”) cholesterol less than 100.
- Smoking: If you smoke, quit now. Smoking contributes to early development of diabetes-related complications, especially heart disease. Exposure to second-hand smoke can also worsen diabetes-related complications. 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Are you up to date on these tests / screenings?
- A1C – twice yearly or more frequent if not less than 7%
- Cholesterol (Lipids) – yearly
- Dental exam – twice yearly
- Kidney Testing (microalbumin/creatinine ratio) – yearly
- Dialated Eye Exam – yearly
- Comprehensive Foot Assessment – yearly
- Foot check at every visit
Diabetes Is a Serious, Life-Long Illness
People with diabetes have trouble making or using insulin, causing glucose (sugar) to build up in the blood.
There are three major types:
Type 1 diabetes
- Type 1 can develop at any age. It can be successfully managed, but not prevented or cured.
- About 5% of people with diabetes have Type 1.
Type 2 diabetes
- Most people with diabetes have Type 2.
- Physical activity and a healthy diet can often prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes in pregnancy (gestational)
- About 4% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes . About half of these women will develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
- If untreated or poorly controlled, gestational diabetes can harm a developing baby.
“Pre-diabetes” is a wake up call.
- People with pre-diabetes have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.
- They are more likely than those with normal blood sugar levels to have a heart attack or stroke.
- Unless they take steps to control weight and increase physical activity, most people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes.
Major Risk Factors
- Overweight and lack of physical activity are the biggest risk factors.
- Older age. The risk for Type 2 diabetes increases with age especially, among people 65 and older.
- Overweight and inactivity can also lead to Type 2 diabetes in younger people, even kids.
- A family history of diabetes.
- Having gestational diabetes or having a baby who weighs more than 9 lbs.
- Low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides (fats) in the blood.
- Race/ethnicity. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk.
Diabetes Often Has No Symptoms
Many people with diabetes have no symptoms, symptoms that develop slowly over months or even years, or symptoms so mild they go unnoticed. These may include:
- Frequent urination.
- Excessive thirst and hunger.
- Weight loss.
- Weakness and fatigue.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Sudden vision changes.
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet.
- Frequent or slow-healing sores or infections.
- Recurring vaginal yeast infections in women.
Diabetes Can Be Controlled
Unless they control their illness, people with diabetes are at risk for serious complications, including:
- Heart disease.
- Eye problems and blindness.
- Kidney disease.
- Poor circulation.
- Nerve damage.
- Foot and leg problems, which can lead to amputation.
- Skin problems (infections, boils, scaly skin, itching).
- Gum disease and other oral health problems.
- Sexual dysfunction.
- Premature death.