In the United States alone, nearly one million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year. Diabetes and its complications can cost employers and employees significant amounts of money in medical bills and lost time. Learning the facts is the first step in the fight against diabetes.
What is diabetes?
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Formerly known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and it is an autoimmune disorder in which the pancreas fails to produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, is the most common form. In type 2, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin being produced.
What is insulin, and why is it important?
When the body breaks down food into a type of sugar called glucose, insulin acts as a carrier to get the sugar into cells to be used as energy. If there isn’t enough insulin to carry out this task, or if the cells don’t react to the insulin, the sugar builds up in the blood where it acts like sharp crystals, causing internal damage. Over time, high levels of blood sugar can lead to or exacerbate conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, neuropathy in the limbs, skin complications, high blood pressure, kidney disease and heart disease, to name just a few.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of diabetes include increased urination, extreme thirst or hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, irritability, inability to fight infection, blurred vision, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, tingling or numbness in the extremities, and recurring skin, gum or bladder infections.
What can be done to prevent Type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet, an exercise regimen, and maintenance of a healthy weight.
Are there benefits to being tested early?
Most definitely. Diagnosing diabetes early offers the opportunity for better management and improvement of symptoms. Additionally, people at high risk for type 2 diabetes may already have prediabetes, which means their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet diagnosable. With active management and adoption of a healthy lifestyle, people with prediabetes can often prevent Type 2 diabetes altogether. The sooner you know where you stand, the better.
How can I get tested?
Test Smartly Labs provides on-site or mobile health screens for companies across the nation. These company health screens are an effective and efficient way to provide valuable health information and screening services to a large number of employees in a convenient “one-stop” shop format. To find a mobile lab in your area, use the drop-down at the top of this page under Wellness Centers or visit our website to find a location near you.