Nearly 1 in 10 Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, and about 1 in 5 people don’t even know they have diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
There are more people diagnosed with diabetes than ever and they are increasingly being diagnosed with diabetes at younger ages.
Fortunately, modern medicine has allowed people diagnosed with diabetes to live longer. The discovery of injectable insulin more than 100 years ago has been vital in the treatment of people with diabetes.
What is the diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that is diagnosed when a person’s body does not produce insulin or their body cannot use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates blood sugar or blood glucose.
“Glucose is an important source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and tissues. It is also the brain’s main source of fuel,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “The main cause of diabetes varies depending on the type. But no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can cause excess blood sugar. “Too much sugar in the blood can cause serious health problems.”
Type 1 diabetes versus type 2 diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin because the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing islet cells within the pancreas.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes less insulin than before and the body develops insulin resistance, meaning it still has insulin but loses its ability to use it effectively.
According to UVA Health, “Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder and it is unknown why the immune system attacks the pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin. In contrast, type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in people who have too much body fat and can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle.”
The World Health Organization shared that symptoms of both types of diabetes can include the following:
- Extreme thirst.
- Blurry vision.
- Unexplained weight loss.
“Over time, diabetes can damage blood vessels in the heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. “People with diabetes are at increased risk of health problems, including heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure,” the World Health Organization said.
He emphasized that “diabetes can cause permanent vision loss by damaging the blood vessels in the eyes. Many people with diabetes develop foot problems due to nerve damage and poor blood flow. This can cause foot ulcers and lead to amputation.”
What is prediabetes?
According to the CDC, more than 1 in 3 Americans are prediabetic and more than 80% of people don’t know they have it.
People often experience prediabetes before progressing to type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a medical condition caused by blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
If you are prediabetic, the American Diabetes Association shared the following prevention efforts to avoid being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes:
- Try to lose weight. Even 10 pounds can make a significant difference.
- Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about additional ways to reverse prediabetes.