Diabetes describes a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar). Glucose is vital to your health because it is an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. Glucose is also your brain’s main source of fuel. Even though glucose plays a significant role in our health, having too much glucose can lead to serious health problems. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the cause may differ.
The different types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and most often diagnosed in adults. If you have type 2 your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Gestational diabetes appears for the first time during pregnancy. This can put one at risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
The causes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but the exact cause is unknown. With this being said, there are some factors that may signal an increased risk. The risk factors for type 1 diabetes include family history, environmental factors, the presence of damaging immune cells, and dietary factors. The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include weight, inactivity, family history, race, age, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented but type 2 diabetes can by making healthy lifestyle choices. Eating healthier, getting more physical activity, and losing excess weight if you are overweight can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes has long-term complications that develop gradually. The longer you have diabetes, and the less controlled your blood sugar is, will result in the higher risk of complications. Possible complications include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes is a serious disease so maintaining your blood sugar is very important. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, you want to commit to managing it.
Please join us November 21st at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on Diabetes.