Diabetes is a prevailing disease in the US. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.3 million people have it. That’s almost one in every 10 Americans. Another 84.1 million people have prediabetes. Although these numbers are unfortunate, to an extent, they are also preventable. Learning about diabetes will help change these numbers for the better. Here is a closer look into the condition and how you can potentially prevent it.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose (or blood sugar) gets too high, which happens when your pancreas can’t make enough insulin to help the cells of your body to absorb glucose. Glucose comes from the food you eat and is your chief source of energy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot be absorbed by cells and remains in the blood where it eventually accumulates and causes health problems.
There are different types of Diabetes.
Although there are more, diabetes type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes are the three most common types.
Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is an autoimmune disease. If you have this type, your immune system attacks and permanently destroys the cells of the pancreas that makes insulin.
This type of diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young adults, but it can appear at any age.
The cause of the attacks is not clear. They can be brought on by genetic or environmental reasons.
Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, it means your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. This may have started as insulin-resistance which prompted the pancreas to create more. The organ eventually couldn’t keep up with the demand and opts to produce less and less until it doesn’t make enough and glucose builds up in the blood.
This type of diabetes is the most common and is often linked with being overweight, physically inactive, or both.
During pregnancy, the body produces hormones that block insulin.
What are the symptoms of Diabetes?
Most types share the following symptoms:
— dry and itchy skin
— excessive thirst
— excessive hunger
— frequent urination
— slow-healing wounds
— drowsiness or fatigue
Other symptoms differ for different types.
Type 1 diabetes develops faster than type 2. It can also sometimes cause a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.
Type 2 diabetes causes dark spots in the folds of the skin in the neck and armpit. It can also cause numbness or pain in the feet. Although type 2 symptoms are mostly seen in people over 45, the population’s sedentary lifestyles and rise in weight gain have resulted in an increase of young people showing symptoms. Type 2 diabetes also increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Poorly managed sugar levels in diabetics may result in a variety of complications that cause heart attacks, strokes, retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy.
High blood sugar levels in pregnant women can cause harm to both child and mother. The risk of high blood pressure, miscarriage, birth defects, and preeclampsia all increases when blood sugar is high.
What is the treatment for Diabetes?
Since the damage to the pancreas is permanent, those with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin every day to survive. Other autoimmune disease treatments are also available.
Type 2 diabetes is managed with physical activity and proper diet. There are also medication to manage blood sugar. It will also help to avoid smoking, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol levels.
Knowledge about the disease helps manage, control, and even prevent diabetes. Consult your doctor if you suspect you have diabetes.