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Recognize the signs of Diabetes

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November is American Diabetes Month and for good reason. Today, diabetes takes more lives than AIDS and breast cancer combined -- claiming the life of one American every three minutes.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common forms of the disease, but there are also other kinds of diabetes, such as gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy, to be aware of.

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes appears suddenly, but the start of the illness can usually be detected with blood tests years prior to onset. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas ceases to manufacture insulin, a hormone essential for our bodies to convert the food we eat into energy. People with type 1 diabetes take multiple daily injections of insulin just to stay alive.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is still able to manufacture insulin. Unfortunately, it’s not always enough. Treatment usually consists of oral medications and a strict diet.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

• Frequent urination

• Excessive thirst

• Excessive irritability

• Extreme hunger accompanied by weight loss

• Nausea and vomiting

• Weakness and fatigue

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include any of those listed above and/or:

• Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

• Recurring or hard-to-heal skin, gum or bladder infections

• Blurred vision

• Itching

Get Tested.

There are several ways to diagnose diabetes. Each way usually needs to be repeated on a second day to diagnose diabetes

Testing should be carried out in a health care setting (such as your doctor’s office or a lab). If your doctor determines that your blood glucose level is very high, or if you have classic symptoms of high blood glucose in addition to one positive test, your doctor may not require a second test to diagnose diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational diabetes can develop when a woman is pregnant. Pregnant women make hormones that can lead to insulin resistance. All women have insulin resistance late in their pregnancy. If the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin during pregnancy, a woman develops gestational diabetes.

Your chances of getting gestational diabetes are higher if you

• are overweight

• have had gestational diabetes before

• have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

• have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes

• have prediabetes, meaning your blood glucose levels are higher than normal yet not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes

• have a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS

Getting Tested.

Doctors use blood tests to diagnose gestational diabetes. All diabetes blood tests involve drawing blood at a doctor's office or a commercial facility. Blood samples are sent to a lab for analysis.

Many people with diabetes live long and healthful lives. It starts by recognizing the signs, getting tested and finding the support that is right for you.

Sinclair Broadcasting is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we’re introducing Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness and prevention. Here’s a look at what causes are coming up:

November American Diabetes Month

December Safe Driving Month

January Shape Up U.S. Month

February American Heart Month

March National Nutrition Month

April National Autism Awareness Month

May National Asthma/Allergy Awareness Month

June Men’s Health Education and Awareness Month

July UV Awareness Month

August National Immunization Awareness Month

September Healthy Aging Month

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