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What To Do If You Think You Have Diabetes


No Matter Where You Are In Your Fight Heres Where You Need To Be

How Do You Know You Have Diabetes

Whether youve been newly diagnosed, have been fighting against type 1 or type 2 diabetes for a while, or are helping a loved one, youve come to the right place. This is the start of gaining a deeper understanding of how you can live a healthier lifewith all the tools, health tips, and food ideas you need. Wherever youre at with your diabetes, know that you have options and that you dont have to be held back. You can still live your best life. All you have to do is take action and stick with it.

New to diabetes? Learn how diabetes is diagnosed.

Can Prediabetes Type 2 Diabetes And Gestational Diabetes Be Prevented

Although diabetes risk factors like family history and race cant be changed, there are other risk factors that you do have some control over. Adopting some of the healthy lifestyle habits listed below can improve these modifiable risk factors and help to decrease your chances of getting diabetes:

  • Eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean or Dash diet. Keep a food diary and calorie count of everything you eat. Cutting 250 calories per day can help you lose ½ pound per week.
  • Get physically active. Aim for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. Start slow and work up to this amount or break up these minutes into more doable 10 minute segments. Walking is great exercise.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Dont lose weight if you are pregnant, but check with your obstetrician about healthy weight gain during your pregnancy.
  • Lower your stress. Learn relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises, mindful meditation, yoga and other helpful strategies.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Men should drink no more than two alcoholic beverages a day women should drink no more than one.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep .
  • Take medications to manage existing risk factors for heart disease or to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • If you think you have symptoms of prediabetes, see your provider.

Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss

Yes, its possible for diabetes to cause hair loss. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to persistently high blood glucose levels. This, in turn, leads to blood vessel damage and restricted flow, and oxygen and nutrients cant get to the cells that need it including hair follicles. Stress can cause hormone level changes that affect hair growth. If you have Type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks itself and can also cause a hair loss condition called alopecia areata.


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When Should I See My Doctor

Diabetes is serious but can be managed well with a combination of medicines and lifestyle changes. Early diagnosis and treatment can also help to reduce the risk of more serious complications. Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of diabetes or have concerns about your risk of diabetes.

There are different possible causes of diabetes according to type.

Signs Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Diabetes

How do you know if you have diabetes

The signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly, especially in children, over a period of weeks. In babies and young children, the first indication of Type 1 diabetes may be a yeast infection that causes a severe diaper rash that’s far worse than the common red, puffy and tender skin rash. In young children and infants, lethargy, dehydration and abdominal pain also may indicate Type 1 diabetes.

Once the symptoms appear, a blood test generally will reveal very high blood glucose.


Type 2 diabetes can be detected easily during a routine screening exam and blood test. However, it frequently can go undiagnosed for years unless a physician draws a blood sample to check the blood glucose.

In the early stages of Type 2 diabetes, you experience few to no noticeable signs of the disease. As time goes by and the untreated blood glucose continues to rise, symptoms begin.

If you’re over 40 or have parents or siblings with diabetes, be sure to have your blood glucose checked routinely.

The most common symptoms of undiagnosed Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are:

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What Are The Warning Signs Of Diabetes

Untreated diabetes tends to cause worsening symptoms over time as chronically high blood sugar levels cause more damage to your tissues and organs. You may not recognize these warning signs in the beginning if theyre mild.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes tend to come on more gradually than type 1 diabetes. In the early stages of diabetes, there may be no symptoms at all.

Its important that you visit your doctor if you notice any potential warning signs of diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can severely damage the tissues and organs in your body.

Treating An Overdose Of Long

If you have given too high a dose of long-acting insulin, this could affect you for up to 24 hours.

How you prevent a hypo will depend on how big the overdose was. If the overdose was large, such as a double dose, take carbohydrate to raise your sugar levels and call your health team or out-of-hours service for advice.


If the overdose was smaller, such as up to 5 units too much, take more carbohydrate than usual and aim to keep your sugar levels higher than normal over the next 24 hours to prevent a hypo occurring.

Test regularly through the day and at any time you think you may feel hypo

Take plenty of carbohydrate before sleeping. It is better to wake up with higher sugar levels than risking a hypo overnight. Dont risk going low. If you cannot be certain that hypos will be avoided, call your health team or out-of-hours service.

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Are There Complications Of Diabetes

Diabetes is a complex disease that can affect your whole body. Some complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart disease and stroke: people with diabetes are up to 4 times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.
  • High blood pressure: people with diabetes may develop high blood pressure due to changes to their body chemistry.
  • Foot problems: having diabetes increases your risk of foot and leg ulcers and amputations see a podiatrist regularly. FootForward is a program designed to help people with diabetes understand the importance of getting their feet checked.
  • Vision problems: diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia you can register for eye check reminders at KeepSight Australia.
  • Kidney disease: kidney failure is 3 times more common in people with diabetes.

Diabetes can have a big impact on mental health as well more than 3 in 10 people with diabetes experience depression, anxiety and distress.

There are many ways you can reduce your risk of complications. Talk to your doctor or a diabetes educator about how to look after yourself to minimise or even prevent diabetes complications.

Can Diabetes Cause Headaches Or Dizziness

Do you have Diabetes?

Yes, its possible to develop headaches or dizziness if your blood glucose level is too low usually below 70 mg/dL. This condition is called hypoglycemia. You can read about the other symptoms hypoglycemia causes in this article.Hypoglycemia is common in people with Type 1 diabetes and can happen in some people with Type 2 diabetes who take insulin or medications such as sulfonylureas.

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Might I Have Diabetes And Not Realise

With type 1 diabetes, the body stops producing insulin, meaning the effect on the body is usually rapid and noticeable. However, type 2 diabetes develops slowly – the body still produces insulin, but it may be insufficient, or the body might not respond to it properly. This means that the development of symptoms is gradual. “Symptoms for type 1 diabetes often develop very fast,” explains Macciochi. “But with type 2 diabetes you may not even know you have it, as symptoms can be very subtle.”

When To See A Diabetes Healthcare Specialist

Its a good idea to go to your primary care provider if you have any of the early warning signs of diabetes.

If you suspect you have diabetes, the first step would be to make an appointment with your primary care physician, such as your family practitioner, internist or pediatrician, says Soma Mandal, MD, of Summit Medical Group in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. They would speak with you about what symptoms you are having, discuss your family medical history, and what your lifestyle is like.

Its important to note: If someone has been having increased thirst and urination, then develops nausea and vomiting, they may need to go to the hospital because very high sugars can be dangerous, Dr. Weitzner says.

Prediabetes and an early stage of Type 2 diabetes is typically managed by your primary care provider, says Dr. Weitzner, but they will likely send you for diabetes testing, which includes a blood test that is typically done twice to confirm the results. During pregnancy, or at other times, testing for diabetes may involve drinking something very sweet and having your blood sugar checked before you drink it and a few times after you drink it, she explains.


If you are diagnosed with diabetes, there are a few different specialists that you may see, including an endocrinologist, a healthcare provider that specializes in treating diabetes.

If youre experiencing symptoms, dont wait for your annual visitcall your healthcare provider right away.

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Can Diabetes Be Cured Or Reversed

Although these seem like simple questions, the answers are not so simple. Depending on the type of your diabetes and its specific cause, it may or may not be possible to reverse your diabetes. Successfully reversing diabetes is more commonly called achieving remission.

Type 1 diabetes is an immune system disease with some genetic component. This type of diabetes cant be reversed with traditional treatments. You need lifelong insulin to survive. Providing insulin through an artificial pancreas is the most advanced way of keeping glucose within a tight range at all times most closely mimicking the body. The closest thing toward a cure for Type 1 is a pancreas transplant or a pancreas islet transplant. Transplant candidates must meet strict criteria to be eligible. Its not an option for everyone and it requires taking immunosuppressant medications for life and dealing with the side effects of these drugs.


Its possible to reverse prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes with a lot of effort and motivation. Youd have to reverse all your risk factors for disease. To do this means a combination of losing weight, exercising regularly and eating healthy . These efforts should also lower your cholesterol numbers and blood pressure to within their normal range. Bariatric surgery has been shown to achieve remission in some people with Type 2 diabetes. This is a significant surgery that has its own risks and complications.

Understanding Diabetes From Other Causes

I am a Type 1 Diabetic Warrior: Remember the warning signs ...

In addition to type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, a small minority of people develop specific types of diabetes due to other causes. This includes:

  • Monogenic diabetes syndromes, such as neonatal diabetes and maturity-onset diabetes of the young
  • Diseases of the exocrine pancreas, such as cystic fibrosis and pancreatitis
  • Drug or chemical-induced diabetes, such as with glucocorticoid use, in the treatment of HIV/AIDS or after organ transplantation

Because these types of diabetes are rare, they are often misdiagnosed as other types of diabetes. You can learn more about these types of diabetes in the Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes section in the Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. If you think you might have one of these types, be sure to talk with your doctor.

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When To Call Your Doctor

If you’re older than 45 or have other risks for diabetes, it’s important to get tested. When you spot the condition early, you can avoid nerve damage, heart trouble, and other complications.

As a general rule, call your doctor if you:

  • Feel sick to your stomach, weak, and very thirsty
  • Are peeing a lot
  • Have a bad belly ache
  • Are breathing more deeply and faster than normal
  • Have sweet breath that smells like nail polish remover

Show Sources

Cleveland Clinic: “Diabetes: Frequently Asked Questions” and “What Is Diabetes?”à ââ¬ÅDiabetes: Preventing Complications,ââ¬ï¿½ ââ¬ÅHyperglycemia .ââ¬ï¿½

University of Michigan Health System: “Type 1 Diabetes.”

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: “Am I at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes? Taking Steps to Lower Your Risk of Getting Diabetes.”


Baylor Scott & White Healthcare: “Urinary Frequency” and “Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy Hard-to-Heal Wounds.”

Sutter Health: “Question & Answer: Is Sudden Weight Loss a Sign of Diabetes? If So, Why?”

Neithercott, T. Diabetes Forecast, August 2013.

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Diabetic Skin Troubles.”

Joslin Diabetes Center: “Diseases of the Eye” and “Diabetic Neuropathy: What You Need to Know.”


The Nemours Foundation: “When Blood Sugar Is Too High.”

Virginia Mason Medical Center: “Complications.”

Carolinas Health System: “Diabetes: Yeast Infections and Diabetes: What You Should Know.”

Geisinger Health: ââ¬Å3 reasons diabetic wounds are slow to heal.ââ¬ï¿½

Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease includes blood vessel disease, heart attack and stroke. It’s the leading cause of death in Australia.


The risk of cardiovascular disease is greater for people with diabetes, who often have increased cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Smoking, having a family history of cardiovascular disease and being inactive also increase your risk.To reduce your risk and pick up any problems early:

  • Have your blood pressure checked at least every six months, or more often if you have high blood pressure or are taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
  • Have your HbA1c checked at least every year, or three- to six-monthly if recommended.
  • Have your cholesterol checked at least every year. Further pathology tests such as an electrocardiogram or exercise stress test may also be recommended by your doctor.

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Why Is Blood Sugar Checked At Home

    Home blood sugar testing is an important part of controlling blood sugar. One important goal of diabetes treatment is to keep the blood glucose levels near the normal range of 70 to 120 mg/dl before meals and under 140 mg/dl at two hours after eating. Blood glucose levels are usually tested before and after meals, and at bedtime. The blood sugar level is typically determined by pricking a fingertip with a lancing device and applying the blood to a glucose meter, which reads the value. There are many meters on the market, for example, Accu-Check Advantage, One Touch Ultra, Sure Step and Freestyle. Each meter has its own advantages and disadvantages . The test results are then used to help patients make adjustments in medications, diets, and physical activities.

    Hemoglobin A1c

    While there are no guidelines to use A1c as a screening tool, it gives a physician a good idea that someone is diabetic if the value is elevated. Right now, it is used as a standard tool to determine blood sugar control in patients known to have diabetes.

    HBA1c
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    The American Diabetes Association currently recommends an A1c goal of less than 7.0% with A1C goal for selected individuals of as close to normal as possible without significant hypoglycemia. Other Groups such as the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists feel that an A1c of < 6.5% should be the goal.

    What Are The Risk Factors For Diabetes

    Do YOU Have PreDiabetes? PROBABLY

    Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not as well understood as those for type 2 diabetes. Family history is a known risk factor for type 1 diabetes. Other risk factors can include having certain infections or diseases of the pancreas.

    Risk factors for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are many. The following can raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

    • Being obese or overweight
    • Ethnic background: Hispanic/Latino Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Alaska natives are at greater risk.

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    Can You Be Born With Diabetes Is It Genetic

    You arent born with diabetes, but Type 1 diabetes usually appears in childhood. Prediabetes and diabetes develop slowly over time years. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy.Scientists do believe that genetics may play a role or contribute to the development of Type 1 diabetes. Something in the environment or a virus may trigger its development. If you have a family history of Type 1 diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing Type 1 diabetes. If you have a family history of prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes, youre at increased risk of developing prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes.

    Is That The Bad Kind

    Excuse me, newsflash! Whats the bad kind, exactly? Please enlighten me. Is there a good kind?

    A Type 1 or a Type 2 can have a bad time with diabetes. Believe me, this is not intentional. The beta cells just get pooped out and tired, and they dont work. The old gray cell just aint what she used to be.

    Despite all their great effort, as time goes by, it can get more and more difficult to manage diabetes.

    Ask Maureen, who contacted me at age 62. She had Type 2 diabetes for over 10 years, and despite her attempts to count her carbohydrates, exercise daily, and take her medication as prescribed, she was having trouble with blood sugars higher than in the past.

    She struggled with the fact that increasing her exercise, cutting her carbohydrates, and losing 16 pounds, she still had not been able to keep her A1C from creeping up to 8.6 percent. She finally had to come to the conclusion with the help of her doctor, that it was time to start insulin injections.

    She had put it off as long as she could. I guess you could say she had the bad kind.

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