It is estimated that 18.2 million people in the United States have diabetes.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects the way you body handles energy you get from eating food. Normally, the food that you eat gets broken down into glucose. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, and with the help of insulin, enters your cells where it is used as energy. People with diabetes either do not produce insulin or can’t use the insulin that they have.
Diabetes Classifications – Diabetes More Information
Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Type 1 occurs when the pancreas abruptly stops making insulin. About 90% of patients who have diabetes have Type 2.
Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in people over the age of 40, but is occurring more frequently in children due to the rise of obesity. In Type 2 diabetes, one of two things can happen; some insulin is still produced but not enough to maintain normal glucose levels, or the body just doesn’t respond to the insulin being produced.
Gestational Diabetes occurs in pregnant women who previously didn’t have diabetes. During the gestational diabetes, the body is unable to produce an adequate amount of insulin.
A family history of diabetes and an unhealthy lifestyle are major risk factors for developing insulin resistance. Obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutritional choices can all contribute to developing diabetes. Always talk to your doctor about all contributing risk factors.
Symptoms of Diabetes – Diabetes More Information
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Weight loss despite eating a normal amount of food
- Blurred vision
- Slowing healing sores
- Frequent infections
The Importance of Screening
The American Diabetes Association recommends that everyone over the age of 45 be screened for diabetes every 3 years. For individuals with multiple risk factors, screening should be done more frequently, starting at a younger age. It is important for individuals to be screened because, if left untreated, long-term complications such as heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, foot and eye problems, and osteoporosis can occur.
Blood Glucose Guidelines
If you’re fasting blood glucose is between 70-100 mg/dL, then your classification is normal.
If you’re fasting blood glucose is between 101-125 mg/dL, then your classification is pre-diabetes.
If you’re fasting blood glucose is between 126 mg/dL or greater, then your classification is diabetes.
Treating Diabetes – Diabetes More Information
Keeping control of blood glucose levels can reduce the risk of complications and can show the progression of the disease.
Patients with Type 1 diabetes need to receive insulin to treat their disease. Patients with Type 2 diabetes are usually treated with medications. It’s important for all patients with diabetes to test their blood glucose levels regularly. By monitoring your glucose levels, you can see how well you are controlling your diabetes. You should record all your tests results and bring them with you when you see your doctor or pharmacist so they can see how well your current treatment is working.
Reducing Your Risk of Getting Diabetes
Losing as little as 10% body weights can drastically decrease a person’s chance for getting diabetes. The best way to lose weight is by eating a healthy low calorie diet and exercising. It is suggested for people to exercise 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week. Walking, working in the yard and cleaning the house are all acceptable methods of exercise. Smoking cigarettes triples the risk of a person getting diabetes, so quitting smoking is a good start. Decreasing alcohol consumption is another lifestyle change that can decrease your risk for diabetes.
To Learn More, please visit the following websites:
- American Diabetes Association
- National Diabetes Education Program
- National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)
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