Diabetes

One of the challenges of becoming a senior is dealing with the reality that our health is not something we can glibly assume that all is OK, as we probably did in our youth.  Our health now requires constant monitoring to assure its maintenance or improvement, as the case may be.

Diabetes Statistics

Relevant facts about diabetes include:

  • More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes and 1 in 5 don’t know it.
  • More than 88 million adults in the United States have prediabetes and 1 in 5 don’t know it.
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes
  • Over the last 20 years, the number of cases diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become overweight or obese.

One of the possible threats to our health is diabetes, type 1 or type 2.  Diabetes can have severe consequences if not carefully monitored and treated.  This article will attempt to address some important issues related to diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There is no cure for diabetes, but with treatment and ongoing self-management strategies, we can live long and healthy lives.  Some people do go into remission, thought this is not the same as a cure.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes), is usually diagnosed in young adults, teens, and children, but it can develop at any age.

Diabetes is more common in males than in females,  However, females tend to have more serious complications and face a greater risk of death than males.  Why males face a greater risk of getting diabetes than females is unknown, though being overweight is a risk factor.

First, let’s look at type 1 diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes is when our bodies do not make enough insulin.  Insulin helps our blood sugar enter the cells where it can be used for energy.  Without insulin, blood sugar cannot enter the cells and so builds up in the bloodstream.  High blood sugar damages the body and causes many symptoms and complications of diabetes, such as blindness or nerve problems .

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have similar symptoms. Over time, they can exhibit many of the same complications.  Yet, they are very different diseases.  With type 1 diabetes, the body is not producing enough insulin on its own.  Taking insulin is necessary for survival to take glucose from the bloodstream and move it into the body’s cells.

Type 2 Diabetes

For people with type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells no longer respond well to insulin.  We say this is insulin resistance.  The body struggles to move glucose into the cells even with adequate levels of insulin.  Over time, the body may stop making insulin entirely.  

Type 1 diabetes develops very rapidly and the symptoms are very obvious.  For type 2 diabetes, symptoms may develop over many years.  The person may not even know they have diabetes until a complication develops. 

The good news is type 2 diabetes can be prevented.  All it takes is proven, achievable lifestyle changes.  If we lose some weight and get more physically active we will be less likely to get diabetes.

If you would like to learn your risk of diabetes, take the 1-minute prediabetes risk test.  If the test confirms you are prediabetic, you can join a CDC-approved  National Diabetes Prevention Program to make lasting changes and learn how to make lasting lifestyle changes to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Here is a guide to help you prevent type 2 diabetes

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