Many people know that diabetes is a deadly disease but few actually know its causes, symptoms and risk factors. These are the things you should know about it.
What Is It?
When you have this disease, your body does a poor job turning the carbohydrates in food into energy. This causes sugar to build up in your blood. Over time it raises your risk for heart disease, blindness, nerve and organ damage, and other serious conditions. It strikes people of all ages, and early symptoms are mild. About 1 out of 3 people with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it.
What Will You Notice First?
People with type 2 diabetes often have no symptoms. When they do appear, one of the first may be being thirsty a lot. Others include dry mouth, bigger appetite, peeing a lot — sometimes as often as every hour — and unusual weight loss or gain.
As your blood sugar levels get higher, you may have other problems like headaches, blurred vision, and fatigue.
Signs of Serious Problems
In many cases, type 2 diabetes isn’t discovered until it takes a serious toll on your health. Some red flags include:
- Cuts or sores that are slow to heal
- Frequent yeast infections or urinary tract infections
- Itchy skin, especially in the groin area
Risk Factors You Can Control
Some health habits and medical conditions related to your lifestyle can raise your odds of having type 2 diabetes, including:
- Being overweight, especially at the waist
- A couch potato lifestyle
- Eating a lot of red meat, processed meat, high-fat dairy products, and sweets
- Unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels
It Can Affect Your S*x Life
Diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves in your genitals. This could lead to a loss of feeling and make it hard to have an orgasm. Women are also prone to vaginal dryness. About 1 in 3 who have diabetes will have some form of sexual trouble. Between 35% and 70% of men who have the disease will have at least some degree of impotence in their lifetime.
Your diet makes a difference
You can control blood sugar levels by changing your diet and losing extra weight. That will also cut your risk of complications. Carefully track the carbs in your diet. Keep amounts the same at every meal, watch how much fat and protein you eat, and cut calories. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian to help you make healthy choices and an eating plan.
Exercise Is Important
Regular exercise, like strength training or walking, improves your body’s use of insulin and can lower blood sugar levels. Being active also helps get rid of body fat, lower blood pressure, and protect you from heart disease. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week.
Relaxation Is Key
Stress can boost your blood pressure and blood sugar. Some people don’t do anything for it. Others turn to food to cope with it. Instead, practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or visualization. Talking to a friend, family member, counselor, or a religious leader could help. If you can’t beat it, reach out to your doctor.
Teeth and Gums Are Targets
High blood sugar levels can feed the bacteria that make plaque. Plaque buildup leads to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Severe gum disease can cause tooth loss. It weakens gums and the tissues and bones that hold teeth in place. That makes it easier to get an infection, too.
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