How Do I Know if I Have Diabetes?
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, tell your doctor:
- Needing to use the bathroom (pass urine) more often
- Feeling very hungry and thirsty
- Feeling very tired
- Blurry vision
- Cuts and bruises take longer to heal
About Type 1 Diabetes
In this type of diabetes, which usually starts in childhood, the body does not produce insulin. The main things that lead to type 1 diabetes are …
Family history. If you have relatives with diabetes, chances are greater you’ll get it, too. Anyone who has a mother, father, sister or brother with type 1 diabetes should get checked. A simple blood test can diagnose diabetes.
Diseases of the pancreas. These conditions, such as pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, can slow the ability of the pancreas to make insulin.
Infection or illness. Some infections and illnesses—mostly rare ones—can damage your pancreas.
About Type 2 Diabetes
If you have this type of diabetes, your body can’t use the insulin it makes. This is called insulin resistance. Type 2 usually affects adults, but it can begin at any time in your life. The main things that lead to it are …
Obesity or being overweight. Research shows this is a top reason for type 2 diabetes. Because of the rise in obesity among U.S. children, this type is affecting more teenagers.
Impaired glucose tolerance. Prediabetes is a milder form of this condition. It can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. If you have it, there’s a strong chance you’ll get type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes often starts with cells that are resistant to insulin. That means your pancreas has to work extra-hard to make enough insulin to meet your body’s needs.
Ethnic background. Diabetes happens more often in Hispanic/Latino Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Alaska natives.
High blood pressure. Blood pressure over 140/90 is associated with a higher risk of diabetes.
Low levels of HDL. HDL is known as (“good”) cholesterol. Low HDL levels and high levels of triglycerides are associated with increased risk of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes. If you had diabetes while you were pregnant, you had gestational diabetes. This raises your chances of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.
Sedentary lifestyle. If you exercise less than three times a week, you may be putting yourself at risk for diabetes.
Family history. Those with a parent or sibling who has diabetes are at increased risk of developing diabetes, too.
Polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a higher risk.
Age. If you’re over 45 and overweight or if you have symptoms of diabetes, talk to your doctor about a simple screening test.
Diabetes Tests & Diagnosis
Your health care professional can diagnose diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes through blood tests. The blood tests show if your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
Do not try to diagnose yourself if you think you might have diabetes. Testing equipment that you can buy over the counter, such as a blood glucose meter, cannot diagnose diabetes.
Who should be tested for diabetes?
Anyone who has symptoms of diabetes should be tested for the disease. Also, some people will not have any symptoms but may have risk factors for diabetes and should be tested. Testing allows health care professionals to find diabetes sooner and work with their patients to manage diabetes and prevent complications.
Testing also allows health care professionals to find prediabetes. If you are overweight, making lifestyle changes to lose a modest amount of weight may help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
What Are Added Sugars?
Added sugars are sugars that are not found naturally in foods. They contribute additional calories and zero nutrients to food. Sometimes added sugars are not easy to recognize on nutrition labels. Added sugars may be listed as:
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt sugar
- Raw sugar
- Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
(Source: American Heart Association)