Diabetes doesn’t seem like the kind of disease you could have without realizing it, but about 6 million Americans are in the dark about their status. Symptoms develop gradually, so many people don’t realize that there’s a problem. But untreated diabetes is dangerous—it can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, foot amputations and other complications. If you’re unsure whether you’ve got diabetes, consider these warning signs:
You may have type 1 or type 2 diabetes if:
- you’re always thirsty or very hungry, especially if you also have unexplained weight loss
- you constantly feel tired and irritable
- you urinate more often than everyone else
You may have type 2 diabetes if:
- you’re obese or overweight
- you’ve ever been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance
- your cuts and bruises take a long time to heal, or you get infections frequently
You can’t prevent type 1 diabetes, which develops when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. But you can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, or help keep it under control. How?
- If you’re overweight, lose 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight. That’s 10 to 20 pounds for a 200-pound person.
- Exercise at moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
- Cut back on junk food and eat small portions of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and nonfat dairy products.