Diabetes is a treatable, but not curable, disease in which the body either develops a resistance to insulin or cannot successfully use all the foods it takes in because of a defect in the production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone created in the pancreas, an organ found near the stomach. It acts as a key to allowing glucose into our cells. Glucose is created during digestion and is needed as a fuel for the body to perform many activities.
Scientists are not certain why diabetes affects some people and not others, but there is strong evidence that heredity, diet, activity level, and ethnicity play an important role.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage, and non-traumatic amputations, and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. It is essential to be under the regular care of a physician when diagnosed with the disease, as diabetics have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke and are also prone to infection and slow-healing wounds.
What Are The Risk Factors For Diabetes?
- You are at risk of developing diabetes if you:
- Are overweight
- Are over the age of 45
- Have poor dietary habits
- Do not exercise regularly
- Are a woman who has experienced gestational diabetes
- Are a woman who has delivered a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth
- Are of African American decent
- Are of Hispanic decent
- Have a family history of diabetes
What Are The Types Of Diabetes?
Type I is also called insulin dependent diabetes because the body does not produce insulin in sufficient quantities, if at all. In this form of diabetes, people are required to take insulin every day by injection. It is seen mostly in children and young adults, though not exclusively. It affects 10% of the diabetic population.
This more common form of the disease affects the greatest number of people. Almost 90% of people with diabetes have this type. Type II has also been called the non-insulin dependent form of the disease because it can often, though not always, be managed without taking insulin. Many people do well with oral medications, strict diets, exercise, and close monitoring by a physician.
This form of the disease can develop during pregnancy. It will often go away after the pregnancy is completed. It is believed to be caused by the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. It is a risk factor for developing the disease later in life.
Some common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Constant thirst
- Dramatic weight loss
- Constant hunger
- Tingling or numbness in the feet or hands
- Blurred vision
- Frequent feeling of fatigue
It is important to discuss any symptoms with your physician as soon as they are noticed. The above lists some warning signs and they all need not be present. Further testing is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Diabetes isn’t necessarily painful, and that is why it is often not diagnosed until major symptoms develop.
Depending on the type of diabetes and its severity, treatment plans will vary and must be tailored to the individual’s specific needs. Medications include daily injections of insulin and/or oral agents, strict diet, regular glucose monitoring, an exercise plan, and regular medical examinations.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.