Understanding the Risk Factors and Symptoms of Diabetes

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In this comprehensive guide, we dive into understanding diabetes, its risk factors, and symptoms. Learn more about this chronic condition and how to manage it effectively.

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Understanding the Risk Factors and Symptoms of Diabetes

Insulin checker


Diabetes, a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy, is becoming increasingly prevalent. Nearly 34.2 million Americans are currently living with the condition. Recognizing its risk factors and symptoms is crucial in controlling the disease and preventing complications. As part of Bellaire ER's commitment to community health, this guide aims to deepen understanding of this disease.

An infographic illustrating the differences between Type 1 diabetes.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is primarily divided into Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is primarily linked to lifestyle factors and genetics. This type occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to serious health issues, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

An infographic illustrating the differences between Type 2 diabetes.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

Several factors increase your risk of developing diabetes. For Type 1 diabetes, risk factors include family history, age, and geography, with a higher incidence in people residing further from the equator.

Type 2 diabetes risk factors are more varied. They include obesity, physical inactivity, family history, age (risk increases with age), and certain ethnicities, with African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and certain Native American groups being at higher risk.

Prediabetes, characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, is also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes, or high blood sugar during pregnancy, increases the risk for both the mother and child to develop type 2 diabetes in the future.

An image of several demographics of people highlighting the various risk factors of diabetes kid.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes may vary depending on the blood sugar level. Common symptoms for both types include increased thirst and frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, and frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections.

In Type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe. For Type 2 diabetes, symptoms often develop slowly, over the course of several years, and can be so mild that they’re not noticed.

Symptoms of diabetes

Diagnosis and Treatment at Bellaire ER

At Bellaire ER, we are equipped to diagnose and initially treat diabetes-related complications. We utilize blood tests, including the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, random blood sugar test, fasting blood sugar test, and oral glucose tolerance test, to diagnose the condition.

Patients presenting severe symptoms or complications like diabetic ketoacidosis - a serious diabetes complication where the body produces excess blood acids (ketones) - are given immediate medical attention.

Living with Diabetes

Despite being a serious and chronic disease, with proper management, individuals with diabetes can live full, healthy lives. Management includes regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, regular physical activity, and taking prescribed medication. Some people will need to take insulin or other medications to manage their blood sugar levels.

Diagnosis and Treatment


Increased awareness and understanding of diabetes can lead to early diagnosis and better disease management, reducing the risk of serious complications and improving quality of life. At Bellaire ER, we are committed to providing the necessary emergency care for diabetic patients, 24/7.

Please consult with a healthcare professional for advice on your specific situation. Always seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe symptoms related to diabetes.