By Mary Magiera, Patient Advocate and type 1 diabetic.
As teens, we’re surrounded by news about diabetes, friends who are diagnosed with it, and articles about how to prevent it. All of this information can be stressful and confusing, especially if you don’t know the facts and warning signs!
Luckily, if you are unsure or worrying about whether you or a friend are at risk for diabetes, I’ve broken down the facts so you can figure it all out without the extra confusion.
There are two different types of diabetes, and though they are similar, people get each kind for specific reasons. The risk factors for Type 1 are:
- Family history. You are more likely to have Type 1 if a family member, especially an identical twin or both parents, has it.
- Race: White people have a greater risk of developing diabetes than black, Asian or Hispanic people
- Early diet. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop it later in life.
Risk Factors for Type 2 include:
- Family history, just like with Type 1.
- Race. People who are Alaskan Native, American Indian, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander have a higher risk.
- High blood pressure.
- Bad cholesterol levels.
- Living an inactive lifestyle. This means exercising fewer than 3x a week or not at all.
- Being overweight or obese.
If you’ve have some of the above risks, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible to get tested. If you’re not sure whether or not to go, the American Diabetes Association has a great Type 2 Diabetes risk checker test on their site that you can take to find your risk level.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Another way to determine if you have diabetes is by examining yourself! Have you recently lost a lot of weight? Are you always tired and shaky or drinking more water than normal? These are all symptoms of diabetes. A fuller list includes:
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst
- Weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
- Tingling or numbness in your hands, legs or feet
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing wounds
If you think that you or someone you know may have diabetes, make sure to see your doctor as soon as possible! If you get tested and find out you do have diabetes, you can get the help you need in order to stay healthy!
Last reviewed Nov 10, 2014.