A Snapshot of Diabetes in America
November is National Diabetes Month, so we wanted to take the time to go into detail on this condition and bring awareness on what it is.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells to use as energy.
With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When this happens, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
There is no cure for diabetes currently, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can help maintain it or help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. It is important to take your medicine as directed, seeking self-management education and support, and keeping up with your health care appointments.
There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).
Type 1 diabetes – usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults and thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction. Currently, it is not known how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes – develops over years when your body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugar levels normal. About 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. This can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating healthy food, and being more active.
Gestational diabetes – develops in pregnant women who never had diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born but increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
Undiagnosed – More than 7.2 million people don’t even know they have diabetes. That is 1 out of 4 adults. You’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you: are overweight, are 45 years or older, have an immediate family member with type 2 diabetes, are physically active less than 3 times a week, have ever had gestational diabetes, or are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native.
Prediabetes – In the US, more than 1 out of 3 people have prediabetes. Prediabetes happens when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. This raises your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Find out if you have prediabetes and work with your health team on what healthy steps you can take to reverse it.
Information provided by cdc.gov/diabetes