By Diane Hwang
In this article, we will discuss what exactly diabetes is, how to test for it, and how to manage it.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. The food you eat contains glucose (also called “blood sugar”), which your insulin breaks down into energy your body can use. When your insulin can’t do its job, too much glucose remains in your blood. This can lead to many health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and damage to your organs and nerves.
Early Signs of Diabetes
Early signs of diabetes include:
- Frequent hunger and thirst
- Physical weakness and fatigue
- Itching and dry skin
- Blurred vision
Risk Factors of Diabetes
- A family history of diabetes, heart disease, or stroke
- Being prediabetic or having high blood pressure
- Smoking, depression, or a sedentary lifestyle
If you have any signs of diabetes or reason to believe you’re at risk, you should get a diabetes test as soon as possible.
Testing for Diabetes
You can perform a home diabetes test yourself. You just need the right diabetic testing supplies, including the best diabetic test strips you can get, a meter, and instructions on how to use them correctly. You can buy diabetic test strips online. A high-quality, fully loaded diabetes test kit is available from OKRA. When you have your results, ask your physician about diabetes diagnosis and treatment.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body produces no insulin. This is relatively rare compared to type 2 diabetes, in which your insulin levels are too low, and your blood sugar levels are too high. If you are at risk but do not yet qualify for a diabetes diagnosis, you may be considered “prediabetic.”
When you know you’re at risk for genetic diabetes, it’s essential to involve your doctor to get medical advice that is tailored to your individual needs.
Prevention of Diabetes
There are steps you can take to prevent diabetes or to prevent a diabetic or prediabetic condition from worsening.
Steps to prevent diabetes include:
- Know your risk factors and lead a healthy lifestyle
- Manage your weight: eat a balanced, healthy diet and get plenty of exercise
- Don’t smoke, and don’t drink alcohol to excess
- Control your blood pressure: reduce stress and consult your doctor as needed
The following prevention strategies are only for educational purposes if hereditary diabetes is a concern and are not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional.
Know your Risk Level
You are at a greater risk if you are:
- Age 45 or older
- Have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Had gestational diabetes during pregnancy
- Are African-American, Hispanic, or Native American
Start Exercising Regularly
Exercising for 20 minutes each day, with activities such as walking, swimming, or going to the gym, will reduce your risk.
Commit to a Healthy Diet
Keeping healthy foods at home will help to avoid the temptations of fast food or take-out meals.
- Reduce foods that are high in fat, calories, and sugar
- Drink more water
- Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains every day
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
A healthy weight depends on a variety of factors such as height, body size, and age, and what constitutes as “healthy” is different for every person. Eating a diet that’s rich in vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, and fiber can help to reduce your risk for genetic diabetes and lose weight. If you’ve been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, dropping even 5% of your body weight can cut your chances of progressing to a diabetes diagnosis.
If you’re concerned about how to prevent diabetes with family history, following these lifestyle changes may also reduce your risk factors conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. You’ll feel better, have more natural energy, and be healthier as a result.
If you believe that you or a family member is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor. By expressing your concerns, they’ll be able to provide you with information and direct you to online or community resources that can support you in making healthy lifestyle changes.
Allow OKRA Care to Be Your Healthcare Companion
With prevention as our #1 goal, OKRA Care works with you in preventing and managing diabetes. We’re available to answer questions about genetic diabetes and can help you maintain your lifestyle with our FDA-certified blood glucose meters and test strips. Learn more about how to prevent diabetes with family history on our blog and contact us when you are ready to take control of your health!