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Can you “catch” diabetes?
In a way, you can, at least for one form of the disease. Type 2 diabetes, which affects up to 95 percent of people with diabetes, is a disease that often sets in as a result of lifestyle choices – choices that feature minimal physical activity, obesity and unhealthy food.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 88 million American adults (more than one out of three adults), have prediabetes. That means they’re on the verge of “catching” it. Even more sobering is the fact that most of those people – almost 9 out of 10 – have no idea they’re prediabetic.
Type 2 diabetes isn’t a minor ailment. It’s life-changing.
Type 2 diabetes can make you more susceptible to skin infections, such as sties, boils and infections around your nails and hair follicles. It can make you vulnerable to yeast-like skin infections and itching. It can cause nerve damage and foot problems, as diabetes makes the blood vessels in your feet and legs narrow and hard, which makes it hard for blood to circulate.
Diabetes can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to heart problems or stroke. Type 2 diabetes can damage your kidneys to the point where they shut down.
It’s important to note that not everyone who has Type 2 diabetes is overweight and that there is a genetic component to the disease. But carrying around extra pounds (and a lack of exercise) makes you more likely to get it. An active lifestyle that includes healthy eating can make you less likely to develop the disease even if it runs in your family.
Type 2 diabetes can sneak up on you. There are no obvious symptoms that you are prediabetic, or on the verge of becoming diabetic, besides a higher-than-normal blood glucose level.
Sometimes people who are prediabetic experience symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, such as:
Type 2 diabetes can do a number on your physical health. The good news? You can do something to prevent or delay it. Many people who are prediabetic can protect themselves from the disease by making key lifestyle changes.
Learn more about diabetes care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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