What Is Diabetes And What Steps Can People Take?

Diabetes is a little-understood disease, but it is important that we know and understand what it is and how to identify possible symptoms. Diabetes refers to a condition where there is more sugar in the blood than the body can use. Diabetes mellitus, the medical name for the condition, is partially a lifestyle disease. This means that the way we live can lead to the onset of diabetes. However, some people are genetically predisposed to getting diabetes.

Statistics just released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the prevalence of diabetes in the US population is expected to increase by at lease twelve percent by 2050. This figure becomes daunting when you realize that this represents an estimated 48 million people. However, you do not need to be a part of this statistic if you start eating right and exercising.

There are three types of diabetes mellitus:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is the type of diabetes where the body is unable to produce any of the insulin it needs to function. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease; that is, the body is turning on itself. With Type 1 diabetes, it does this by destroying the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Once these cells are destroyed, the body can no longer produce insulin. Persons with Type 1 diabetes have to take insulin daily for the rest of their lives. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile diabetes because it is found most frequently in children and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes

This was formerly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, but even children can have type 2 diabetes.  With this type of diabetes, the body produces some insulin, but not as much as it needs to regulate sugar levels.

Gestational diabetes

This type of diabetes only affects pregnant women, hence, the name. It normally occurs late in a pregnancy and results from the hormonal changes taking place.

Risk factors for diabetes

There are a number of indicators of who may develop diabetes during their life. Some of these indicators include being obese, your race, your gender, and your age. Your physical fitness also plays a part, as how active you are will help determine your weight. People who exercise are less likely to develop diabetes than those who are sedentary.

Symptoms of diabetes

The main signs of diabetes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Increasing need to urinate and increased quantity of urine produced
  • Blurry vision
  • Minor cuts and scratches take longer to heal than usual
  • Losing weight without any apparent reason
  • Being constantly tired

Treatment of diabetes

Typical treatment for diabetes includes:

  • Medication (primarily insulin)
  • Controlling and lowering your blood pressure
  • Lowering your cholesterol levels (especially LDL)
  • Exercising
  • Losing weight

No one wants to hear that they have diabetes, but many of us will. The first thing to remember is that diabetes is not a death sentence; it can be treated and controlled. By changing some lifestyle habits, you can lead a healthy life – even with diabetes. Eating properly, exercising, and taking your insulin is necessary to keeping you healthy.

To learn more go to Diabetes Nutrition and at Diabetes Support Group