A Few Facts About Diabetes
What is diabetes?
Diabetes Facts: Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to produce or unable to properly use and store glucose (a form of sugar). Glucose backs up in the bloodstream — causing one’s blood glucose or "sugar" to rise too high.
Diabetes Facts: People with diabetes frequently experience certain symptoms. These include:
In some cases, there are no symptoms — this happens at times with type 2 diabetes. In this case, people can live for months, even years without knowing they have the disease. This form of diabetes comes on so gradually that symptoms may not even be recognized.
Diabetes Facts: Diabetes can occur in anyone. However, people who have close relatives with the disease are somewhat more likely to develop it. Other risk factors include obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. and physical inactivity. The risk of developing diabetes also increases as people grow older. People who are over 40 and overweight are more likely to develop diabetes, although the incidence of type 2 diabetes in adolescents is growing. Diabetes is more common among Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders. Also, people who develop diabetes while pregnant (a condition called gestational diabetes) are more likely to develop full-blown diabetes later in life.
Diabetes Facts: There are certain things that everyone who has diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, needs to do to be healthy. They need to have a meal (eating) plan. They need to pay attention to how much physical activity they engage in, because physical activity can help the body use insulin better so it can convert glucose into energy for cells. Everyone with type 1 diabetes, and some people with type 2 diabetes, also need to take insulin injections. Some people with type 2 diabetes take pills called "oral agents" which help their bodies produce more insulin and/or use the insulin it is producing better. Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease without medication by appropriate meal planning and adequate physical activity.
Diabetes Facts: Your health care team will encourage you to follow your meal plan and exercise program, use your medications and monitor your blood sugars regularly to keep your blood sugars in as normal a range as possible as much of the time as possible. Why is this so important? Because poorly managed diabetes can lead to a host of long-term complications — among them are heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, blood vessel disease that requires an amputation, nerve damage, and impotence in men.
Diabetes Facts: Maybe. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, yet we still do not understand it completely. Recent research does suggest, however, that there are some things one can do to prevent this form of diabetes. Studies show that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in those adults who are at high risk of getting the disease. Modest weight loss (5-10% of body weight) and modest physical activity (30 minutes a day) are recommended goals.