Diabetes – Are you at risk?
The number of people with diabetes in Ireland is growing rapidly. At present there are an estimated 191,000 people with the condition with approximately 30,000 of these undiagnosed. Recent figures suggested that there are a further 146,000 Irish people in the pre-diabetes stage. More information
Knowing the symptoms and risk factors for diabetes is important as non-diagnosis can seriously affect your quality of life. Undiagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes can cause damage to your blood vessels, particularly to your heart, eyes, kidneys, feet, and nerve endings leading to serious health problems for you and your family to cope with.
Researchers don’t fully understand why some people develop Type 2 diabetes and others do not. However, it is clear that certain factors increase the risk.
You are more at risk of getting Type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are overweight for your height – carrying excess weight or obese. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your blood cells become to insulin. Excess weight is clinically classified as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25. BMI is a calculation of weight relative to height. It is calculated as: Weight (kg) /Height (m) x height (m)
- Do not take 30 minutes of daily physical activity. The less active you are, the greater the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps control your weight, uses up blood glucose (blood sugar) as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
- Have a parent or brother/sister with diabetes, your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is increased
- Are over 40 years of age, The risk of Type 2 diabetes increases as you get older and is particularly high for people over 60 years. This is probably because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle and gain weight as they age. However, we are now seeing Type 2 diabetes among children, adolescents and younger adults.
- Developed diabetes during pregnancy (ie gestational diabetes) and/or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 10 pounds your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases in later life.
- Have, or have previously had high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease.
- Already have Pre diabetes (clinically known as Impaired Glucose Tolerance) is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes. Left untreated, pre diabetes often progress to Type 2 diabetes.
- Currently have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – a metabolic disorder with hormone imbalance, some women with PCOS may have insulin resistance which may lead to Impaired Glucose tolerance (see above) or Type 2 diabetes.
Currently have or recognise any of the Signs or Symptoms as follows:
- Blurred vision
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent trips to the bathroom (urination) especially at night
- Rapid and unexplained weight gain or loss
- Frequent infections
- Numbness, pain or tingling in your hands or feet
The more risk factors or symptoms that you have the more likely you are to have diabetes or pre-diabetes.