Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Insulin produced by the pancreas lowers blood glucose. Absence or insufficient production of insulin, or an inability of the body to properly use insulin causes diabetes.
The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 and type 2. Former names for these conditions were insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, or juvenile onset and adult onset diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Include:
- Increased urine output
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss
- Skin problems
- Slow healing wounds,
- Yeast infections, and
- Tingling or numbness in the feet or toes
Risk Factors for Getting Diabetes Include:
- Overweight or obese
- A sedentary lifestyle
- A family history of diabetes
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Low levels of the “good” cholesterol (HDL)
- Elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood.
If you think you have any of these symptoms or risk factors, it is important to get an A1C test, which reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications. The A1C test is a simple blood test. You can eat and drink normally before the test.