Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood due to insufficient carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. Greater than 29 million people in the US have diabetes; of these 29 million, greater than 8 million are underdiagnosed.
Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to properly control blood sugar levels. Type 1 Diabetes may occur at any age but usually appears at ages younger than 15 years with an increased occurrence in people with a previous family history.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the cells of the body become resistant to insulin, meaning they do not utilize the insulin produced to control high levels of sugar. Type 2 Diabetes usually occurs at age 40 years or older but can occur in children. Type 2 Diabetes is common in overweight or obese individuals.
Gestational Diabetes occurs in women who develop high blood sugar levels during pregnancy and typically resolves once they have their baby. Women who are diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes are at a higher risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes. Approximately 84 million American adults have Prediabetes and of those, 90% don’t know they have it. People with Prediabetes have an increased risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
The risk factors for developing Diabetes include obesity, African-American, Hispanic or Native American cultures, individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, physical inactivity, and family history of diabetes.
The symptoms of Diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger, sudden weight loss, fatigue, wounds that won’t heal, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, blurred vision, sexual problems or vaginal infections.
If you have any of the above symptoms, you should contact your doctor for further evaluation. If you are diagnosed with Diabetes, your doctor will work with you to manage your care. Some of the recommendations to manage Diabetes are a healthy diet, regular physical activity or exercise, getting adequate sleep, managing your stress, quit smoking if you are doing so and take any medications prescribed as directed.
You should take an active part in managing your blood sugar levels to prevent complications such as hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. You should see your eye doctor yearly, and lose excess pounds.
For more information or questions contact our church office at 630-355-1330 and ask to speak with Kim R. RN or go to the American Diabetes Association website: https://www.diabetes.org.