Could You Have Diabetes and Not Know It?

If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can contribute to kidney disease, nerve damage, high blood pressure and stroke.1 Surely you would be aware if you were suffering from something so dangerous, right?

A silent killer

While diabetes sufferers may experience subtle symptoms, they often go unnoticed. Symptoms may include:

  • Frequent thirst or peeing
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling worn out
  • Yeast infections that keep returning
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet2,6

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that as of 2015 there are 33.3 million people with diabetes – including 7.2 million (24%) of whom were undiagnosed.1 As frightening as being diagnosed with diabetes may be, not addressing it leaves you at risk of potential and devastating consequences.

Are you at higher risk?

If you fall into certain groups, you may be at an even higher risk of developing of diabetes. Risk factors may include:

  • A family history of type 2 diabetes
  • A history of diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
  • A hormonal disorder causing problems in the ovaries (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
  • Certain racial and ethnic minorities3

Despite a documented sharp increase in risk to develop diabetes, there are no formal guidelines for additional screening for these high-risk groups,4,5 a position opposed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) .2 The ADA recommends screening for type 2 diabetes every year in patients 45 years and older as well as screening patients with major risk factors who are younger than 45.2

Lifestyle factors can also increase your risk:

  • Getting little or no exercise
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Sleeping too little or too much6

Early diagnosis is important and can help patients avoid devastating complications. If you are concerned about your risk, be sure to speak to your physician.

With longer hours and no appointment needed, community pharmacists are more accessible than many health care professionals. That makes it easier to get answers when you need them. Many community pharmacies also offer a wide range of other public health services such health screenings, immunizations, pain control, research, and lifestyle management.5 Stop by – we’re happy to help!

So what’s the big deal?

Just exactly what are the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes? High blood sugar can damage:

  • Heart and blood vessels
  • Kidneys
  • Eyes
  • Nerves (which can in turn lead to trouble with digestion, the feeling in your feet, sexual response, etc.)
  • Wound healing
  • Pregnancy6 

What you can do

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, the best thing you can do to avoid complications is to manage your disease. Be sure to:

  • Take your medications and/or insulin on time
  • Check your glucose levels
  • Eat right and regularly
  • Watch for warning signs
  • Visit your doctor regularly

It is also possible to “reverse” type 2 diabetes. Exercising and losing extra weight and keeping it off can help you better control your blood sugar and may result in fewer medications or perhaps no longer needing those medications at all.7

We’re here to help

Whether you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, being vigilant and maintaining your health is paramount. Talk to your Health Mart pharmacist to ask how we can help!

Health Mart. Caring for you and about you. 

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

Sources: 

  1. NPR: Screening for Diabetes Is Working Better Than Thought.” Available at https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/23/559486787/screening-for-diabetes-is-working-better-than-thought Accessed 9-21-18.
  2. AAFP: Diabetes Mellitus: Screening and Diagnosis. Available at: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2016/0115/p103.html Accessed 9-21-18.
  3. Medscape: Prediabetes, Diabetes Screening Criteria Miss Half of Patients. Available at: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/895523 Accessed 9-21-18.
  4. ADA: The American Diabetes Association Disappointed in Scope of New Screening Guidelines for Type 2 Diabetes and Pleased with Expansion of Lifestyle Interventions. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2015/uspstf-new-screening-guidelines-for-type-2-diabetes.html Accessed 9-21-18.
  5. AAFP: Screening for Abnormal Blood Glucose and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Recommendation Statement. Available at: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2016/0115/od1.html Accessed 9-21-18.
  6. WebMD: Type 2 Diabetes: The Basics. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes#1 Accessed 9-21-18.
  7. WebMD: Can You Reverse Type 2 Diabetes? Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-guide/reversing-type-2-diabetes#1. Accessed 09-27-18.