Diabetes is a group of diseases that negatively affect the way your body uses glucose, or blood sugar,. This is a problem because glucose is important to our health and is an important source of energy for our bodies. It’s also a major source of fuel for our brains. People with diabetes can have either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, the body simply doesn’t make insulin. Typically, the body is supposed to break down carbohydrates that are absorbed in glucose, which it then uses for energy, and insulin is the hormone necessary to move blood sugar from the bloodstream to the cells. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that approximately 1.6 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, of which approximately 187,000 are children and adolescents. Type 1 diabetes can occur in anyone, any age, and affects any race and people of any size. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Your immune system – which usually fights harmful bacteria or viruses – is known to attack and destroy your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This means you have little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. Type 1 is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, although it is still unclear exactly what the factors are. Weight is not believed to be a factor in type 1 diabetes. Resources are available to everyone involved. This is a condition that can be managed through healthy lifestyle habits (exercise and eating right). People with this condition can lead full and normal lives.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not use insulin properly and this is the most common type of diabetes. Different people need different treatment plans. Some people can control their glucose levels through a healthy diet and exercise; others may need to use medication or insulin to help them. In both cases, resources and support are available to help all concerned.
A big and important part of treating type 2 diabetes is maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. It is important to find a diet that can be maintained by finding a healthy diet that you actually enjoy. Fitness is also important, and luckily there are plenty of options for those looking to exercise. Find activities you enjoy and do them in your spare time. Working with your doctor to determine what physical activity you are actually able to handle and which one you should engage in is a good first step in getting active.
Another health condition related to diabetes is prediabetes. Here your glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, 88 million American adults have prediabetes, more than 80% of whom know they have it. With prediabetes, you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. However, if you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can be made to delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and the other serious health problems for which you are at risk from prediabetes.
Regardless of the type of diabetes, certain signs and symptoms will appear. These include increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, presence of ketones in urine (ketones are a by-product of muscle and fat loss that occurs when not enough insulin is available), fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, slow healing Sores, common infections such as gum or skin infections, and vaginal infections. Seek help from your doctor and test to see if you notice any of these symptoms.