Diabetes is complex and there’s still a lot that is unknown about it. While there are risk factors that could mean that someone is more likely to develop diabetes, genetics, environment, even pregnancy and geography can play a role too. And sometimes, people can have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes and not even realize it.
What is Diabetes and What Types Are There?
Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.
The underlying cause of diabetes varies by type. But, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems.
Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes and gestational diabetes. Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. And prediabetes is often the precursor of diabetes unless appropriate measures are taken to prevent progression. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered.
What are the Symptoms?
While the symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated, or may not experience symptoms at all (like with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes), here are some signs:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Presence of ketones in the urine
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections
The risk factors and reasons why diabetes may occur depends on the type of diabetes; and even then, the exact cause of any type of diabetes is not fully known. But, with that being said, some factors that may signal to increased risk are below.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, though exactly what those factors are is still unclear. Weight is not believed to be a factor in type 1 diabetes. What are considered some factors for type 1 diabetes are:
- Family History
- Environmental Factors – Circumstances such as exposure to a viral illness likely play some role in type 1 diabetes.
- The Presence of Damaging Immune System Cells (autoantibodies)
Prediabetes & Type 2 Diabetes
It’s believed that genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes as well. Being overweight is strongly linked to the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, but not everyone with prediabetes or type 2 is overweight.
- Family History
- Race or Ethnicity – Although it’s unclear why, certain people — including Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian American people — are at higher risk.
- Gestational Diabetes
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- High Blood Pressure
- Abnormal Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Diabetes comes with long-term complications that develop gradually such as:
Type 1 & 2 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Nerve Damage (Neuropathy)
- Kidney Damage (nephropathy)
- Eye Damage (Retinopathy)
- Foot Damage
- Skin Conditions
- Hearing Impairment
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Complications of Prediabetes
- Prediabetes may develop into type 2 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented. However, the same healthy lifestyle choices that help treat prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can also help prevent them:
- Eat Healthy Foods – Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to prevent boredom.
2. Physical Activities – While this can be difficult for truckers, it is not impossible. There are a variety of ways that drivers can be active while out on the road. Check out some of our blogs below for lists of great on-the-road excises and activities to get you movin’.
Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight range can do wonders for your health. Focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits – again, these may seem impossible with the truck driver lifestyle, but with some effort and dedication, you can live a healthier and happier lifestyle while on the road.