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Diabetes

Diabetes

 More than 30 million Americans have diabetes. As the numbers continue to grow, let’s take a look at some of the basic things you need to know about diabetes and how to identify it.

Diabetes is a disease where the body is unable to properly utilize and store glucose. Unused, glucose floods the bloodstream causing level to rise to a dangerously elevated level.

There are two distincttypes of diabetes. The first is called type 1 diabetes and is also referred toas juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent. In this type of diabetes, the body stops making insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to use the glucose found in foods for energy. Since their body doesn’t make insulin, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to survive. They can take insulin by injection or by using an insulin pump.

Type 2, also known as adult-onset diabetes, happens when one of two things happens: either the body doesn’t produce adequate amounts of insulin or the body is unable to use insulin properly (referred to as insulin resistance). Historically, type 2 diabetes was found in the over 40, obese, or in those who have a family history of diabetes. Due to the obesity epidemic, we are seeing it more and more in younger adults and children.

Diabetes is showing to be more common among Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.

What are common symptoms of diabetes?

People with diabetes exhibit many of these symptoms:

 excessive thirst

 frequent urination

 weight loss or weight gain

 increased hunger

 impaired, blurry vision

 swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet

 edema  irritability

 tingling or numbness in the limbs

 frequent skin, bladder or gum infections

 wounds that take a long time to heal or don’t heal

 extreme inexplicable fatigue

It is also not uncommon for a person with type 2 diabetes to display no symptoms, so it is always advisable to do a blood glucose test during annual exams to rule out diabetes.

How is diabetes treated?

No matter which type of diabetes you have, following a proper meal plan which balances out sugars, proteins, and fasts. Daily physical exercise is also shown to lessen the effects of diabetes as it helps the body to utilize insulin to convert glucose into energy.

People with type 1 and some people with type 2 diabetes need to take daily doses of insulin. Some people with type 2 diabetes take “oral agents” to better produce and utilize insulin (like Metformin). Many people with type 2 diabetes manage their illness with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and some mind-body practices like meditation or yoga to regular hormone levels. Many people with type 2 diabetes manage their illness with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and some mind-body practices like meditation or yoga to regular hormone levels.

It’s recommended that all diabetics check their blood sugar using a blood glucose meter each day to monitor their diabetes. All diabetics should see an endocrinologist every six to twelve months for check-ins and an eye doctor annual for an exam to screen for eye problems associated with diabetes.

Diabetes is a manageable, chronic illness that requires daily monitoring and thought. With proper education and consistency, you can manage your symptoms.

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