UACES Facebook Could you have diabetes and not know it?

Could you have diabetes and not know it?

Diabetes increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputations, kidney failure, nerve damage, and gum disease, and should not be taken lightly.

TEXARKANA, Ark. –  

Could You Have Diabetes and Not Know It?

Chances are that you know someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes. Twenty-nine.one (29.1) million people or 9.3 percent of the population in the US have diabetes. Of those, 21.0 million people have been diagnosed, while 8.1 million people or 27.8 percent of the population are undiagnosed.

American Indians/Alaska Natives, non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics are the race/ethnicity with the highest diagnosed cases in the United States. Asian Americans and Whites also have diagnosed cases but come in 4th and 5th respectively.

Diabetes increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputations, kidney failure, nerve damage, and gum disease, and should not be taken lightly.

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy.) Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, which is the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body.

After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into cells, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach.

When we eat, the pancreas automatically produces the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into our cells. In people with diabetes, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body. Thus, the body loses its main source of fuel, even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose.

If your pancreas does not make any insulin, it is called Type I diabetes. Type II diabetes occurs when the body cannot make enough-or cannot properly use insulin. Normally, the body's natural control system releases just the right amount of insulin. In diabetics, the control system no longer works the way it should.

How do you know if you have diabetes if you haven’t been diagnosed? Symptoms include: increased and frequent urination, increased thirst, weight loss along with increased hunger, blurred vision, weakness, feeling tired and skin infections.

The only sure way to detect diabetes is to have a blood test. Make an appointment with your doctor or a clinic. Fast (no food or beverages) for 12 hours before testing to make sure you get good test results.

If you do not have diabetes, you can lower your chances. Exercise regularly, reduce fat and calorie intake, and lose a little weight to help you reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels also helps you stay healthy.

What you eat has a big impact on your health. By making wise food choices, you can help control your body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Take a look at the serving sizes of the foods you eat. A serving is not how much you put on your plate, but the amount that is counted in calories, fat, and carbohydrates.

 The best way to truly know how many calories, fat and carbohydrates you are consuming is to keep a food and exercise log. Write down what and how much you eat, and your exercise.

To learn more about the Hemoglobin A1c Test, or how to participate in Cooking Well with Diabetes, a hands-on cooking school that will teach you how to cook for a diabetic and others who want to eat healthy. Contact me at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture in Miller County at 870-779-3609, or e-mail me at chaley@uaex.edu.

This Spinach Orange Salad, would make a healthy addition to your meal.

Spinach Orange Salad

4 cups fresh spinach, washed & torn into bite–size pieces

Three fourth cup Mandarin orange slices, drained

One half cup almonds

One half cup croutons

Toss spinach, oranges, almonds and croutons together in a large bowl. Serve salad dressing of your choice on the side. Yield:  4 servings, 1 one half cup. Calories 146, Protein 5g, Carbohydrates 11g, Fat 10g, Fiber 3g, Sodium 88mg.

By Carla Haley Hadley M.S.
County Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley Hadley M.S.
County Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
chaley@uaex.edu