Diabetes has become an epidemic in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million children and adults have diabetes and a staggering 79 million Americans aged 20 and older have pre-diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your body produces inadequate levels of insulin which causes your blood glucose, or blood sugar levels to sky-rocket.
Glucose comes from the food you eat. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps convert sugar and starches from food into energy and regulates the amount of glucose in your blood. Excess blood sugar levels over time cause damage to various organs including your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes, and skin.
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Gestational Diabetes
Type 1 – previously known as juvenile diabetes, is often diagnosed in children or young adults, but can also happen at any age.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not make insulin. If your body cannot produce insulin-glucose stays in your blood; this can lead to serious problems including cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, eye damage and osteoporosis. A blood test can determine if you have Type 1. If you are diagnosed, you will need to supplement the insulin your body is lacking by taking insulin injections to keep your blood sugar levels normal.
To manage type 1, you will need to monitor your blood glucose levels daily and administer insulin as needed. Your Doctor will also recommend making changes to your diet and regular exercise to help manage your diabetes.
Type 2 – is the most common type of diabetes happens when your body is unable to use the insulin your body produces; this leads to high blood glucose levels because your body cannot turn all the sugars and starches from the food you eat into energy for cells. When this happens your body reacts by producing more insulin to make up for the deficiency. But over time your pancreas simply can’t keep up and begins making less and less insulin. When this happens, you may need to supplement insulin with daily insulin injections. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 is often diagnosed in middle-aged adults and older. But type 2 is starting to develop in more and more children and younger adults.
If you are diagnosed with type 2, your body cannot use the glucose from the food you eat and turn it into energy. When glucose levels are too high, it can cause serious problems.
Management includes making lifestyle changes that affect your day-to-day routine. It is essential to monitor your blood glucose levels, eat healthily, get regular exercise, take medication and visit your Doctor regularly.
Symptoms of Type 1
- Blurred vision
- Extreme hunger
- Fatigue and weakness
- Frequent urination
- In females, a vaginal yeast infection
- Increase in Bedwetting (childhood)
- Increased thirst
- Irritability and other mood changes
- Unintended weight loss
Symptoms of Type 2
With Type 2 you may not experience symptoms right away, and if you do, they are often overlooked because symptoms don’t seem dangerous. If you have type 1 symptoms are usually more severe, and you take notice. That’s why knowing what to look for is so important.
- Areas of darkened skin
- Blurred vision
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
- Weight loss
- Abnormal Weight Loss or Weight Gain
- Blurred Vision
- Constant Hunger
- Dry Mouth
- Frequent Urination
- Frequent Vaginal Infections (women)
- Frequent Yeast Infections (men)
- Itchy Skin
- Numbness or Tingling in Hands & Feet
- Slow-Healing Cuts & Bruises
- Unquenchable Thirst
Diabetes is not an inherited trait, though you can inherit a predisposition to diabetes which can be triggered by environmental factors. Scientists are still trying to determine what those environmental factors are to control this widespread epidemic. Environmental factors may include climate, viruses, early diet, autoantibodies, obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise.
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