Diabetes: Don’t Sugar Coat It

Diabetes is a term heard quite often, so it may be easy to downplay, dismiss or forget the seriousness of this condition.  Understanding the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, how to decrease your own risk, or manage your diabetes can help ensure a healthier life.

Many people may be at risk for diabetes due to unmaintained diets, lifestyle choices or family history.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that over 34 million Americans have diabetes, with one in five people unaware they are affected.  Additionally, more than 88 million people in the United States are pre-diabetic and nearly 84% don’t know they are at risk.  Currently, there’s no cure for diabetes, so changing daily habits can make a big difference in your life.

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

There are two primary types of diabetes; both are chronic diseases affecting the regulation of blood sugar, or glucose.  Insulin is necessary for glucose to enter into the body’s cells.  Those with Type 1 diabetics are not able to produce insulin, whereas Type 2 diabetics may produce their own insulin, but their bodies may not respond to or produce enough insulin necessary to maintain normal blood sugar levels.  Both of these types of diabetes are subject to persistently high levels of blood sugar, increasing risks of diabetic complications.

Symptoms of Diabetes

When left uncontrolled, similar symptoms are common for both types of diabetes, including:

•    Urinating frequently

•    Excessive thirst and drinking often

•    Increased hunger

•    Extreme fatigue

•    Blurred vision

•    Cuts/sores that heal slowly or properly

Those with Type 1 diabetes may also experience sudden weight loss, even when they’re eating more, as well as irritability and mood changes.  Many with Type 2 diabetes may feel numbness, pain or tingling in their hands or feet. 

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes develop quickly over a short period of time.  Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, typically develops during childhood or adolescence, but it is possible to be diagnosed later in life.

Many with Type 2 diabetes don’t display symptoms for many years, and some show no symptoms at all until their condition is discovered due to complications.

Don’t Let Diabetes Take Over

Those who are diagnosed with diabetes shouldn’t be discouraged from living a happy, healthy life.  Managing diabetes is key to effectively managing your overall health.

•    Eat Healthy

•    Exercise Frequently

•    Take Prescribed Medication

•    Monitor Blood Sugar

Take time this month to make positive lifestyle changes, especially if you believe you may have, or do live with, diabetes.  For those concerned about a family history of diabetes, are currently overweight (BMI greater than 25), or are experiencing diabetic symptoms, please take time to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

Thank you to the Centers for Disease Control and the American Diabetes Association for the information in this article.  Information provided by Sarah Bradley, Marketing Specialist, Madison County Health Care System, (515) 462-2373, www.madisonhealth.com