Signs That You May Have Diabetes

While Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed during childhood, Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of diabetes and to get connected with an endocrinologist for diabetes care if needed.

Bergen Medical Associates provides care in a variety of medical specialties under one roof in several locations throughout northern New Jersey. Here, we explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as their related symptoms.

Two people at kitchen island chopping vegetables for diabetes-friendly meal

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body cannot produce insulin or loses its ability to use insulin correctly. Insulin is a hormone that’s produced in the pancreas and regulates the levels of glucose (blood sugar) in the body. It helps glucose enter the body’s cells, where it is used for energy. When the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or regulate it properly, glucose levels build up in the blood. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to a range of health problems associated with diabetes.

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile diabetes because it was usually diagnosed during childhood. However, patients can develop Type 1 diabetes at any age.

What Are the Risk Factors for Type 1 Diabetes?

It’s not clear what causes Type 1 diabetes, but risk factors include the following:

  • Age: Children are usually diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes between the ages of 4 and 14.
  • Family history: Patients who have a parent or sibling with Type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop this condition themselves.
  • Genetics: Some genetic markers increase the risk of having Type 1 diabetes.
  • Racial background: In the United States, rates of Type 1 diabetes are higher among white people than among African-American, Hispanic, or Latino people.

What Are the Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?

Typical signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very hungry or thirsty
  • Bed-wetting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Patients with Type 1 diabetes typically need to take synthetic insulin every day to stay healthy. They may have a wearable insulin pump or give themselves injections.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops over time when the pancreas begins to make less insulin and the body’s cells stop responding to insulin properly — a problem known as insulin resistance. This type of diabetes is often the result of lifestyle factors, such as weight, diet, and activity levels.

What Are the Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes?

Risk factors of Type 2 diabetes include the following:

  • Age: Type 2 diabetes is most common among patients over the age of forty-five.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Patients who do not get enough exercise are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
  • Medical history: A patient who has had gestational diabetes or prediabetes is at risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Fortunately, many people can lower their risk of Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, staying physically active, and eating a balanced diet.

What Are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

Patients with Type 2 diabetes often experience the following symptoms:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Numbness or tingling feelings in the hands or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts or sores that take a long time to heal
  • Weight loss

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes require ongoing management by an endocrinologist, a type of physician who specializes in conditions and diseases related to hormones. Many patients with diabetes also work with a dietitian who helps them manage their condition and ensures they are getting the right mix of healthy foods.

Find Endocrinology Care at Bergen Medical Associates

Patients who are experiencing symptoms of diabetes can find advanced care at Bergen Medical Associates in northern New Jersey. With both primary care and multiple specialties under one roof, Bergen Medical Associates has been treating patients throughout northern New Jersey for over twenty-five years. The medical team includes more than fifty board-certified physicians, nurses, and experienced support staff. To request an endocrinology appointment at one of our six locations, contact us today.

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