November is National Diabetes Month, so here’s a crash course on the disease that affects more than 29 million people in America.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes simply means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. And when blood sugar is persistently high, it can cause damage to almost every part of the body.
Type 1 and Type 2 – What’s the Difference?
Type 1 – The body does not produce insulin, a hormone needed to regulate blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is treated with insulin therapy.
Type 2 –The body produces insulin at low, medium or even high levels, but the cells are less responsive to it. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy diet and exercise. As the disease advances, oral medications are used to lower blood glucose; in advanced cases, insulin therapy is required.
How Serious is Diabetes?
Both types of diabetes greatly increase a person’s risk for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease (or failure)
- Heart attack
- Visual loss or blindness
- Immune system suppression
- Erectile dysfunction
- Nerve damage
- Poor circulation
- Poor wound healing (sometimes leading to amputation)
Type 2 Diabetes – 3 Things You Should Know
1. Type 2 diabetes often does not have any symptoms.
2. One in four people with diabetes doesn’t know he or she has it.
3. Before people develop type 2 diabetes they often have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and for heart disease and stroke.
Type 2 – What to Do?
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst or dehydration
- More infections than normal
- Wounds that don’t heal
- Dry, itchy skin
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Blurred eyesight
- Problems having sex
If you have high blood pressure, consider getting tested for type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure is more common in people with diabetes.
Take the First Step Toward Beating Diabetes! Join Welcyon Now!
Working out regularly at Welcyon is a great way to control—or beat—diabetes. Tour your local Welcyon club and meet with one of our specially trained fitness coaches to learn more about individualized programs for managing diabetes.