Nearly 7% of Americans have some type of diabetes. Unfortunately, nearly one third of those people are unaware they suffer from it. When a person has diabetes, their body is unable to use the glucose that is in the food they eat.
Diabetes is a very serious illness that, if left untreated, can have adverse affects on a person’s nerves, eyes, heart and kidneys. Since the body is unable to use the glucose, it gathers in the bloodstream, which can then cause damage to the various parts of the body.
There are various symptoms that can indicate a person has diabetes. The most common symptom is excessive thirst. Another common symptom is going to the bathroom more than normal. Feeling very hungry, losing weight without dieting, feeling extremely tired, sores that seem to heal extremely slow, dry itchy skin, tingling in hands or feet or losing feeling in your feet, along with sexual dysfunction and blurred vision are also symptoms associated with diabetes.
Diabetes is broken down into three basic categories, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes affects between 5%-10% of the people who have diabetes. Although this type of diabetes is most often found in children, people of any age can be diagnosed with it. It is also considered to be hereditary. Most commonly, type 1 diabetes is found in people who are of average weight or who are on the thin side. Type 1 diabetes is classified by the body’s inability to produce insulin. The body’s own immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas.
Type 2 diabetes is when the body is able to produce insulin, but the body either cannot properly use the insulin or it does not make enough. Approximately 90% of those with diabetes have type 2. Normally, type 2 diabetes develops after 40 years of age. However, it, too, can develop in people of any age. Even young children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Often, people are able to control their type 2 diabetes through the use of proper diet, exercise and/or pills. Following a strict regimen allows people to keep their blood sugar levels under control.
The final category of diabetes is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes only occurs in women who are pregnant. Normally, it will go away after the woman delivers the baby. Less than 15% of pregnant women are affected by gestational diabetes. Most women are tested between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy for diabetes. Gestational diabetes needs to be treated to prevent complications for both the mother and the baby.
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of diabetes if they have a family history of diabetes. They are also at a higher risk if they are overweight, have given birth to a large baby, had a stillbirth, have had a previous pregnancy with gestational diabetes or are over the age of 35. Although gestational diabetes is generally treatable through diet and exercise, on occasion, insulin therapy is sometimes needed.
Anyone can be affected by diabetes. But, thankfully, diabetes is treatable and in some cases, curable. If you think you could have diabetes, it is important to consult your doctor right away. Early detection is essential in preventing damage to your body.