There’s one health condition that, if left untreated, could lead to blindness, kidney disease and even limb amputation. It also shortens life expectancy by about ten years. Worst of all, one out of four Americans with this condition doesn’t even know they have it.
We’re talking about type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition in which the body can no longer control its own blood sugar. Every November, the US recognizes National Diabetes Month to raise awareness about and drive prevention of this potentially debilitating health condition.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of all cases of diabetes. Other types of diabetes include type 1 diabetes, a non-preventable autoimmune disorder, and gestational diabetes, or diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
While some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes cannot be controlled--such as ethnicity or age--many of the contributing lifestyle factors can be controlled. This means that for people who identify their risk early, type 2 diabetes can be preventable.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
It’s important to know the difference between risk factors and symptoms. While risk factors may work alone or together to increase the likelihood that you will develop a disease, symptoms are the physical signs and indicators that you may already have it.
Learn about the top risk factors for type 2 diabetes, some of which you may be able to control or prevent through lifestyle changes. Then Take the U.S. National Institute of Health Diabetes Risk Test to learn about your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Know the Symptoms of Diabetes
For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the signs and symptoms are similar. They include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
Some people experience no symptoms at all. That’s why it’s important to work with your doctor to understand your risk of diabetes and take steps to prevent it. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes including losing weight, exercise and eating a diet low in sugar and high in foods such as vegetables, fruits and other unprocessed foods.
PPA Can Help
For people suffering from diabetes, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance – or PPA – may be able to connect them with programs that provide medicines and related health care items and services for free or nearly free. These include free glucose meters, test strips, insulin syringes, medical testing, service animals and more.
Learn more here about the more than 171 medicines for diabetes currently in development by America’s biopharmaceutical companies.
If you or someone you love struggles with affordable access to medicines, there are resources available that may be able to help: The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps connect patients with patient assistance programs that provide free or nearly free prescription medicines. For more information, visit www.pparx.org.