Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It affects 9.3 percent of our population – that’s about 29.1 million people.
There are two different types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Patients with Type 1 diabetes have a deficiency in which their pancreas creates little to no insulin. Those with Type 1 diabetes have to give themselves insulin shots every day before each meal. That’s three shots a day.
Type 1 diabetes is not just limited to older people, it was previously known as Juvenile Diabetes because children are usually the ones diagnosed.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is predominantly found in middle-aged adults, but alarmingly is being found much more often in children. Those with Type 2 diabetes are able to create insulin, but their body has no idea how to use it. This results in an abundance of sugar in the blood, requiring those affected to test their blood sugar levels multiple times a day to ensure that it does not get too high.
Patients with either type of diabetes require serious treatment and must closely monitor their symptoms. If diabetes patients go without treatment they can face serious complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and even limb amputation.
While we are all at a higher risk for diabetes more than ever before, those with a family history of diabetes are the most at risk. Therefore, it is important to monitor yourself for symptoms of diabetes and take actions to prevent it in the first place. Since diagnosis is one of the first steps to leading a healthy lifestyle with diabetes it is important to know some of the symptoms.
According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- Extreme hunger, even if you have just eaten
- Weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Slow healing cuts and bruises
- Tingling or numbness of the hands or feet
- Frequent urination
- Recurring skin, gum or bladder infection.
While it is important to monitor yourself for symptoms, there are also many precautions that may be taken to prevent diabetes. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and a balanced diet can significantly decrease one’s risk of developing the disease.
Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate and its results are devastating to both the patient and their family. Preventing diabetes is a lifestyle, not just a one-time fight.
It is going to take the whole nation to come together and change the way we are living if we want to see results, but the first step in making these changes is raising awareness about the seriousness of diabetes and ultimately coming to the conclusion that we could all potentially be affected.