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What is Diabetes?

November was proclaimed “Diabetes Awareness Month” in order to spread awareness and knowledge about the different types of Diabetes and their risks. Let us now learn to understand the signs and symptoms of Diabetes and become aware of treatments available for those who have the condition.

 

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose/blood sugar, is excessively elevated. Blood glucose is your core source of energy and derives from the food you eat. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that converts glucose from food into energy. In some cases, your body does not make sufficient amounts of insulin or does not use insulin well. Glucose then remains in your blood and is unable to reach your cells.

 

Types of Diabetes

 

The three main types of Diabetes:

  • Type 1 – Over one million Americans suffer from Type 1 Diabetes, and several thousand more are predicted to be diagnosed within the next year. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when an individual’s blood sugar is extremely high. Often their immune system fails, attacks, and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce the body’s insulin. This form of diabetes can be developed in people of any age, or size.

 

  • Type 2– The most common form of Diabetes is Type 2. Over 30 million In the USA alone are estimated to have it. With this type of diabetes, the person’s body does not use insulin properly. This type of Diabetes is more common after the age of 45, though it is still possible for younger ones to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

 

  • Gestational Diabetes (GDM)– This type of diabetes develops in pregnant women who did not previously have Diabetes and can often be controlled by diet and exercise. If not controlled, this can lead to a high chance of complications for both mother and child. GDM usually goes away in time after birth but women affected are at heightened risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

 

Signs and Symptoms

 

The signs of diabetes are not always obviously recognized as signs and can also be confused with other conditions. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts and bruises are slow to heal
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Tingling, or numbness in hands and feet

 

If you or a loved one have concerns that you may be experiencing some of these symptoms, it may be time to look into getting tested for Diabetes.

 

Treatment Options

 

Treatment:

  • If you have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, a doctor may advise you to monitor your blood sugar regularly, take insulin, eat healthily, and exercise consistently.

 

  • If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a doctor will assess whether you need medications to treat it, in addition to adjusting your diet, increasing your exercise, and making other needed lifestyle changes.

 

  • If you’ve been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, your doctor will discuss the best foods for you to eat, an exercise routine that is safe for you and your unborn child, and an insulin regimen, if needed.

 

 

If you’d like to learn more about caregiver resources or need assistance caring for a family member or friend, complete the form on our Contact Page.

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