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Prevention

What Are the Symptoms for Diabetes?

diabetes

The pandemic has not been easy for people living with type 2 diabetes or those who are at risk. Anyone with risk factors such as family history or obesity should be on the lookout for symptoms of high blood sugar.

“We’ve seen a lot of people with diabetes whose diabetes numbers have gotten out of control as well as new diagnoses of diabetes,” said Jennifer Brackett, APRN, a diabetes care and education specialist with Northeast Medical Group. “I think it’s directly related to inactivity and also a lot of people at home who are snacking more than they ever did before.”

What is normal blood sugar?

There are a few ways to screen for diabetes. A1C looks at the average blood sugar level over 3 months. For a fasting blood sugar test:

  • Less than 99 mg/dL is normal
  • 100-125 mg/dL is prediabetes
  • 126 mg/dL or higher is diabetes

Symptoms of high blood sugar may include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor healing
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent yeast infections

Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for a screening. Complications from high blood sugar include problems with the eyes, nerves and kidneys. Over time, the biggest risk of high blood sugar is heart disease.

“The earlier people are diagnosed and the closer we can get their sugars to a normal range, the better off they’re going to be long term,” said Brackett.

Treating diabetes

In addition to medication, healthy lifestyle changes are crucial for patients with type 2 diabetes. Brackett recommends starting slow. One first step to improving diet is to eliminate any sugar sweetened beverages such as juices and soda. To increase exercise to the recommended 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity per day, start with getting up and going for a walk in the middle of the workday.

Brackett also recommends regular check-ins with a primary care clinician, diabetes educator or registered dietician. They can help keep patients on track because little changes over time can make a big difference, especially for those who are at risk for diabetes.