How to make a difference with diabetes:
If you have diabetes:
- Learn ways to control your blood sugar levels so you can live a healthy, happy life.
If you don’t have diabetes:
- Make lifestyle changes so you can reduce the chances. Some ideas are:
o Go for walk each day; just 20 minutes can make a difference
o Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains but don’t over-eat.
If someone you know has diabetes:
- Learn more about their needs and be supportive of what their condition requires.
This disease takes a team effort to manage and to conquer. Be aware of what you can do to make a difference.
Did you know that 29.1 million Americans have diabetes? That is 9.3% of the total population. However, 8.1 million of these are undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is the most common, comprising of 90-95% of all cases. According to the CDC, if rates continue on current trends, one in three Americans will have Type 2 diabetes by the year 2050. Below are some facts about diabetes to help you have a better understanding. By raising awareness, we can join forces to combat this epidemic and increase the quality of life for many.
What is diabetes?
Type one diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes):
This is caused when the body’s immune system kills insulin producing cells in the pancreas known as beta cells. Insulin is a hormone which allows the body to use food for energy. Without functioning beta cells, there is no insulin production. This allows glucose, a simple sugar, to spill into the blood stream instead of going into the cells. Insulin injections are required in order to control blood glucose levels. Good control helps reduce the risk of other complications such as nerve damage, loss of eye sight, as well as kidney and heart disease. Symptoms to look for are intense thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight loss, and blurred vision. It is important to seek medical help immediately if any of these signs are present.
Type two diabetes:
This is the most common form of diabetes. It is characterized by high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia. In the case of type two diabetes, your body still produces insulin but cannot use it properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your body will compensate by producing extra insulin. But, over time it cannot maintain high levels of production and the pancreas slows down. At this point it is not making enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels normal. To help control type two diabetes, medication is often recommended. It is also important to make healthy lifestyle changes. Physical activity for at least 20 minutes per day and losing 5-7% of body weight have shown to make improvements in blood sugar control. As with type one diabetes, this helps reduce the risk of other health complications.
This only occurs during pregnancy, usually around week 24. Diagnosis is usually made due to routine blood test results. Prior to that, there may be no symptoms. This is usually a temporary condition that will last throughout the remainder of pregnancy. It does increase the risk of developing type two diabetes later in life. It is important to follow advice of the physician in controlling blood sugar levels during pregnancy for the health of the mother and baby. After pregnancy, maintaining an active lifestyle and healthy weight will decrease the risk of developing type two diabetes.
This is a diagnosis where blood sugar levels are elevated above normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. This condition that rarely shows any symptoms. It does increase the risk of developing into type two diabetes and can often be improved through diet and lifestyle. When this occurs, it is important to follow the advice of a health care professional to help make necessary changes.
How is Tobacco Use Related to Diabetes?
Tobacco use increases your chance of having type 2 diabetes. But no matter what type of diabetes you have tobacco makes your diabetes harder to control. For example, tobacco can interfere with how your insulin works and puts you at higher risks for serious complications including:
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Poor blood flow in the legs and feet that can lead to foot infections, ulcers and possible amputation
- Retinopathy (an eye disease that can cause blindness)
- Peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves to the arms and legs that causes numbness, pain, weakness, and poor coordination)
If you use any type of tobacco and you have diabetes decide to quit. When you do you will immediately start to see the benefits. People with diabetes who quit tobacco have better control of their blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that insulin resistance can start to decrease 8 weeks after quitting, and recovery from surgery can happen faster.
For information on quitting call 1-800-QUIT.NOW or visit utahquitnet.com
SaRene Brooks – Health Educator, Summit County Health Department
650 Round Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060
Phone: 435-333-1509 Fax: 435-333-1580
Tiffany Anderson – Health Educator, Summit County Health Department
650 Round Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060
Phone: 435-333-1506 Fax: 435-333-1580