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Five surprising facts about diabetes

| Healthy You | Wellness

Man using diabetes finger test.

Don’t let diabetes or the complications of the disease take you by surprise.

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes. With more at risk of developing it, chances are good that you or someone you know have the disease.  

While the condition is common, you might be surprised by the following facts about diabetes:

  1. You can have diabetes (or pre-diabetes) and not know it. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to determine your risk:
  • Frequent urination  
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme fatigue  
  • Extreme hunger  
  • Frequent infections  
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.
  1. Uncontrolled diabetes, or when your blood sugar levels are too high, even if you're treating it, can affect every aspect of your health. Here are just a few areas diabetes impacts:
  • Dental health. High sugar helps bacteria (plaque) build up on teeth.
  • Digestive health. Diabetes can damage the nerve that controls the way food moves through your stomach and intestines.
  • Skin health. High blood sugar levels cause the body to lose fluid and lead to infections, itching and dryness.
  • Vision. Diabetes can damage the tiny blood vessels inside the retina and lead to partial or total vision loss.
  1. ​People with diabetes may be more likely to have heart disease or strokes because diabetes may raise blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol can build up and narrow your blood vessels, which makes it harder for blood to flow freely.
  2. Stress can increase your blood sugar levels. It’s tough to make healthy choices in high-stress circumstances. Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to eat things we shouldn’t when we’re feeling stressed out?  
  3. Diabetes can be managed, and pre-diabetes can be stopped if found early. With simple changes such as losing weight, eating nutrition-rich foods, cutting back on daily calories and staying physically active.

Don’t let diabetes or the complications that come with it take you by surprise. Talk with your doctor about strategies to live well with it or lower your risk of getting it.