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Diabetes - What is Your Risk?


Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect how your body processes glucose. Glucose is necessary as an important source of energy for your cells and is the main source of energy for your brain to function.

There are various forms of diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a precursor to actually developing full on diabetes that presents as high levels of blood sugar, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. With proper diet and exercise, pre-diabetes does not have to develop into full on diabetes.  Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and often will reverse after childbirth. However, having experienced gestational diabetes puts the mother and the child at higher risk for developing Type II diabetes later in life. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. It often, but not always, starts at a very young age.  Type II diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body processes blood sugar. This type used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes but with our Standard American Diet, doctors are seeing children developing this condition as early as 10 years old.

The severity of symptoms you might experience when you are developing or have developed diabetes will depend on the level of your blood sugar. Initially when developing pre-diabetes or Type II, you may not experience symptoms. However, with Type I, the symptoms are likely to be more severe and appear more quickly. Some symptoms to look for are:

  • increased thirst
  • extreme hunger
  • frequent urination
  • unexplained weight loss
  • ketones in the urine
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • blurred vision
  • slow healing sores
  • frequent infections in the vaginal area, gums, or skin

Are you at risk for developing diabetes? Here are some risk factors to be aware of:

Type I diabetes

  • family history
  • environmental factors - exposure to some viruses can lead to Type I diabetes
  • autoantibodies - damaging immune system cells
  • geography - people in Finland and Sweden are at higher risk

Pre-diabetes and Type II diabetes

  • excess weight
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • family history
  • race - Hispanics, African Americans, Asian-Americans and Native Americans are at higher risk
  • age
  • gestational diabetes
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • high blood pressure
  • unhealthy cholesterol and high triglycerides

Gestational diabetes

  • age
  • family or personal history
  • weight
  • race - same demographics that are vulnerable to pre-diabetes and Type II

Diabetes brings with it several peripheral complications, such as:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • nephropathy (kidney damage)
  • retinopathy (eye damage)
  • foot damage from poor blood circulation
  • skin conditions
  • hearing impairment
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • depression

Complications from gestational diabetes:

  • high birth weigh
  • higher risk of type II for both mother and child
  • low blood sugar
  • death
  • preeclampsia
  • secondary gestational diabetes - higher risk for subsequent pregnancies

In cases where diabetes has not yet manifested, taking steps for prevention is the best defense. Here are some things within your control to keep from developing it:

  • eat whole foods that are primarily plant based including plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains
  • get moving every day
  • maintain a healthy BMI and body weight
  • monitor your blood sugar levels if you are at risk

Type II diabetes is on the rise but it doesn't have to happen to you. If you feel you are at risk, let's talk.

As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.

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