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What is diabetes and how do I know if I am at risk?
what is diabetes and how do I know if I'm at riskIt is known that with time, we are prone to developing certain illnesses. One of the most common chronic illnesses that people develop is diabetes. This is a disease in which the pancreas gradually puts out less insulin, and eventually results in a high blood sugar and the symptoms of diabetes. In honor of Diabetes Alert Day on March 28th, 2017, Hannibal Regional Medical Group would like you to know about diabetes and how to determine if you are at risk.

“There are many different types of diabetes, but the most common types are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.” explains Dr. Purvi Parikh, Endocrinologist at Hannibal Regional Medical Group. “In type 1 diabetes mellitus, the problem is that the pancreas (an organ in the abdomen) does not make enough insulin early on and eventually makes no insulin. In type 2 Diabetes mellitus, the pancreas does not make enough insulin and the body becomes resistant to normal and/or even high levels of insulin. In the United States, Canada, and Europe, about 90 percent of all people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. You can actually do a great deal to delay or even prevent ever getting type 2 diabetes by being aware of your risk factors and leading an active lifestyle with healthy eating habits.”

The cause of type 2 diabetes is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have family members who are diabetic or have medical problems associated with diabetes like high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, heart disease or obesity. Some environmental factors that contribute to your risk of diabetes are physical inactivity, high caloric foods consumption, as well as genetic factors. Dr. Parikh would like for you to be aware of some symptoms of diabetes: needing to urinate frequently, increased thirst, increased hunger (even after eating), dry mouth, fatigue, headaches, tingling/numbness in toes/feet and blurred vision. It is important to know, however, that many people with type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms at all.

Screenings and timely diagnosis and treatment help prevent more serious complications of this disease. Chronic hyperglycemia (chronic high blood sugars) causes long-term damage of eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, or blood vessels, stroke, coronary heart disease, and peripheral vascular disease. You should get tested for Diabetes if you have any of the symptoms listed above, are overweight, over the age of 45, have a family history of diabetes, have a history of gestational (pregnancy) diabetes, and/or have a history of polycystic ovarian disease. If you believe you are at risk, call 573-629-3500 to get tested by your primary care provider.

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