There are more than 30 million people in the United States who suffer from some form of diabetes, and more than 84 million U.S. adults have prediabetes. As the 7th leading cause of death across the country, diabetes is traumatic condition that dramatically affects your everyday life and lasts a lifetime. Most adults are unaware of what diabetes actually is, and the fact that there are several variations of it. In essence, it is a disorder of the human metabolism (the way in which the body utilizes digested food for growth and energy). Awareness is power. It is important to know that there are ways to prevent diabetes–particularly type 2 diabetes.
There are several types: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at the risk factors involved with developing these three forms of diabetes and how you can avoid being diagnosed through improving your long-term health and wellness.
Risk Factors of Diabetes
There are a variety of risk factors associated with this condition. While some are simply based on a person’s biological makeup, while others relate to a sedentary lifestyle. Type 1 diabetes usually begins at birth or during adolescence. In this case, the pancreas stops producing insulin entirely and an individual with type 1 diabetes must manually inject insulin regularly to allow the body to function properly. Type 1 diabetes can spur from a family history of the disorder, diseases of the pancreas such as pancreatitis or gallstones, or a severe infection or illness.
While on the other hand, type 2 diabetes occurs when the human body cannot use the insulin that it produces. It usually resonates in adult men and women and can begin at any time during your life. Type 2 diabetes can be caused by a number of factors including obesity, impaired gluten intolerance, insulin resistance, age or a sedentary lifestyle.
How Can I Tell If I Have Diabetes?
If you have a family history of diabetes, are overweight or obese, or have a gluten intolerance, you should visit your doctor and discuss the possibility that you have prediabetes. A simple blood test can diagnose prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. If your body is unable to adequately utilize insulin, you need to prescribed the proper treatments immediately. There are common symptoms and early onset signs of diabetes which include, but are not limited to:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination or urine infections
- Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
- Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
- Blurred vision
What are My Treatment Options?
Depending on its severity, Type 2 diabetes patients may be able to manage the condition through healthy eating and regular physical activity. These treatments also help with gestational diabetes which manifests in women that are pregnant. Keep in mind that there are healthy ways to prevent diabetes–particularly type 2 diabetes. That’s why awareness is so important.
Patients with Type 1 diabetes manage their condition by taking insulin multiple times a day since their body is unable to produce enough insulin on its own. Those with Type 2 diabetes may also need to take insulin regularly, or in certain situations such as pregnancy. Very severe side effects sometimes develop in patients who have Type 1 diabetes but have yet to be diagnosed. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include head and stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, reduced alertness, and dry skin.
Additionally, a doctor may prescribe a medication like Invokana, Jardiance or another SGLT2 inhibitor to be combined with insulin treatment and/or healthy lifestyle choices. These prescription treatments reduce blood sugar by blocking glucose from being reabsorbed into the blood. The effectiveness of the drug comes at a price, however, as some of the drugs, namely Invokana, have potential side effects such as gangrene and lower-limb amputation. Talk to your doctor about which medication and treatment is right for you to prevent terrible long-term injury or infection.
This November has been deemed National Diabetes Awareness Month, and Wednesday, November 14th is designated as World Diabetes Day. Take time this month to discuss the issue of diabetes with your family and friends to help promote a healthier community. There are many ways to prevent some forms of diabetes. By eating a proper diet, staying active and avoiding excess sugar, you can help combat type 2 diabetes and keep the disorder from becoming an epidemic. Schedule a visit with your physician for more information about diabetes and how you can live a long, healthy life.
Have you or loved ones suffered from diabetes?
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