A Diabetes Wake Up Call: Know the Risk Factors and Symptoms Now
Knowledge is Power: A Closer Look at Type 2 Diabetes, Its Risk Factors, and Symptoms
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), symptoms of diabetes include: increased thirst and urination, increased hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the feet or hands, sores that do not heal, and unexplained weight loss.1 In the Philippines, 99% of people living with type 2 diabetes (T2D) also experience cardiovascular complications.
So when alarm bells in the form of these diabetes symptoms and complications come ringing, that’s when you know that it’s time to stop hitting the snooze button. With this disease affecting more and more people even in the time of pandemic, taking fast action is more important than ever. Consider this a wake-up call: the time to manage this life-threatening disease is NOW!
The following risk factors are what make a person more likely to have T2D:
Obesity, Overweight, and Lack of Physical Activity
T2D is likely if you are struggling with obesity, or if you live a sedentary lifestyle. Excess weight may also cause the body to resist insulin.
Resistance to Insulin
When your fat cells, muscles, and liver don’t respond well to insulin, this may be a sign that you have insulin resistance. This will then force your pancreas to produce more insulin and, when that isn’t enough, blood glucose levels become higher because your body cannot process it.
Genes are another risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and Asians (including Filipinos) are part of those most affected by the disease.
Aside from these, you may also have a higher chance of having type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are aged 45 or older
- Have high blood pressure
- Have a low level of HDL or “good” cholesterol, or a high level of triglycerides in the blood
- Have a history of gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
- Have a history of heart disease or stroke
- Have depression
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Have acanthosis nigricans — dark, thick, and velvety skin around your neck or armpits1
If you or your loved ones are experiencing any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or if you have risk factors for diabetes, go see your doctor. Here are some things you can do for yourself or for someone you know:
Manage Your ABCs
A is for the hemoglobin A1C test which checks your average blood glucose level over the last three months, and this should be less than 5.7 percent. A result of 5.7 to 6.4 percent means you are already pre-diabetic.
B is for blood pressure, which should be below 140/90 mmHg.
C is for cholesterol, which should be controlled because high LDL or “bad” cholesterol can potentially block your blood vessels and lead to complications.
Get Physical and Eat Well
If you are not active, it’s time to start moving more. Take 30 minutes in your day to exercise, brisk walk, or do a doctor-recommended workout routine. Eat well and make healthier food choices, not only to help in weight reduction but to also keep your blood glucose levels in the safe range.2
Knowing your blood sugar (glucose) levels is critical for proper management, so ask your doctor about diagnostic exams.
So what do you do when you are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes?
Maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep blood sugar levels in check. Monitor your blood glucose levels and consult your doctor regularly. Ask your doctor about class treatment options and therapy to be able to have a better quality of life. GLP-1 RA therapy is a type of therapy you can ask your doctor about. If recommended to be a right fit for your condition, it can help balance and manage blood sugar and other factors.
Get to Know GLP-1 Better
Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a hormone produced in the gut released during the process of food consumption, so you can use the food nutrients to help you function better. It regulates the hormones insulin and glucagon in the pancreas and improves glucose metabolism, regulates blood sugar production in the liver, regulates appetite in the brain, and increases insulin sensitivity. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body may not produce enough GLP-1. Ask your doctor about GLP-1 treatment options so your body and GLP-1 can once again work in harmony.
Now that you’re armed with information about the risk factors and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, the only thing left to do is act NOW. With type 2 diabetes claiming hundreds of lives each day, having proper knowledge is key, and prevention is better than cure. It’s time to take the first step and consult with your healthcare provider for an assessment — don’t wait until it’s too late!
For more information about T2D, and the efforts that Novo Nordisk is making for Filipinos in managing and defeating diabetes, visit https://healthtoday.ph/diabetes-club/.