November is American Diabetes Month. Did you know that more than one in five of the people in the United States who have diabetes don’t even know they have it? According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), that’s 7.3 million people — out of a total 34.2 million — who aren’t aware they’re living with the disease and all the health risks that poorly managed blood sugar can pose.

The major types of diabetes are: 

  • Type 1 Diabetes An autoimmune disorder that typically begins before adulthood, in which the immune system destroys cells within the body that make insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar
  • Type 2 Diabetes A disease that usually begins in middle age, which results when the body isn’t able to use insulin properly to regulate blood sugar
  • Gestational Diabetes A condition during pregnancy in which the body doesn’t use insulin properly, similar to type 2 diabetes

Diabetes symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may sometimes not experience symptoms. In type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe.

Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections

Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it’s more common in people older than 40.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to consult with your primary care physician to receive a proper diagnosis. If you need a primary care physician, Thomas Health can help! Please call our physician referral line at 304-414-4847.