You’ll take diabetes more seriously after reading this
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and statistics show we need to take prevention more seriously.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and affects 25.8 million people (8.3 percent of the U.S. population).
What’s worse, 79 million Americans have prediabetes – blood glucose levels that are not yet high enough to be diagnosed, but are high enough to put us at high risk. The most dangerous aspect of prediabetes is that there are no clear symptoms, so many are diagnosed without any knowledge.
What is diabetes?
When you eat food, your body converts that food into glucose (sugar) for energy. A healthy person’s pancreas makes insulin to help glucose get into the body’s cells to power the body. For those with diabetes, their body can’t create insulin (type 1 diabetes) or that insulin doesn’t properly convert glucose (type 2 diabetes).
Because your body isn’t properly the using the glucose, the sugar stays in the blood. High blood sugar levels have long-term complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, nerve damage, kidney problems, gum disease, and tooth loss. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme hunger
- Sudden vision changes
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- Feeling very tired much of the time
- Very dry skin
- Sores that are slow to heal
- Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains in addition to the other symptoms
You know it’s serious, so take prevention seriously.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, and research is inconclusive on the cause of this form of diabetes.
However, most with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed as children or young adults, and only 5% of people with diabetes have this form.
Type 2 diabetes is very preventable with just a little diet and exercise. According to the American Diabetes Association, you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by almost 60% by only losing 7% of your body weight and exercising moderately 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
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