What is the right time to start checking your blood sugar levels? This is a question that keeps haunting many minds. Before we discuss this topic, it is very essential for us to understand what diabetes is, what the symptoms of diabetes are and the types of diabetes.
Diabetes is becoming a very common disease these days. Diabetes is broadly classified into two types - type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
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Type 1 diabetes is often seen in children, adolescents or young adults and can occur at any age. The exact reason of type 1 diabetes is not known; however, it is understood to be an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue.
Such autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, are usually hereditary and can be passed down through families.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is considered to be a chronic lifelong disease where the glucose level in the blood is very high. Special cells in the pancreas called beta cells produce a hormone called insulin, which is essential to move the blood sugar called glucose into the cells.
The glucose is stored in the cells and used later whenever there is a need for energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your fat, liver and muscle cells do not respond correctly to insulin, thereby causing a condition called insulin resistance.
As a result, blood sugar does not get into these cells to be stored for energy. Since the glucose is not stored in the cells, the level of sugar in the blood automatically increases. This situation is called hyperglycemia, where the glucose cannot be used to produce energy.
So when should you start checking for diabetes? To understand this, you should also know the symptoms of diabetes.
As already discussed, type 1 diabetes can occur at any age; hence, if you see the following symptoms such as unusual thirst, feelings of unusual hunger, blurred eyesight, fatigue, sudden weight loss, frequent urination and numbness of feet, then this is when you should get a test done to check for diabetes.
When should you check for type 2 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly over a period of time. Most people with this disease are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed. Increased fat makes it harder for the body to use insulin the correct way. Family history and genes play a major role in type 2 diabetes.
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This can also occur among people who are thin. The early symptoms of type 2 diabetes include frequent infections of the bladder, kidney or skin that heal very slowly, fatigue, increased hunger, increased thirst, frequent urination and numbness of feet. When you see any of these conditions, no matter what age you are, you should check for diabetes.
Pre-diabetes is a pre-diagnosis or a warning signal of type 2 diabetes when your blood sugar is higher than normal. You can always prevent pre-diabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes.
Eat very healthy food, reduce your weight, become active physically as much possible and maintain a healthy weight - that's all you have to do to prevent yourself from developing the chronic type 2 diabetes.