November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and aims to spread awareness and knowledge about diabetes.
Information for this post derived from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Diabetes can affect anyone. As of 2015, 30.3 million people in the United States, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes. More than 1 in 4 of them didn’t know they had the disease. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65, and about 90-95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is the body's main source of energy and comes from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas (an organ in your body), helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
Different types of diabetes
There are several different types of diabetes, although the most commonly know are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes means your body does not produce any insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes is a little different. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people.
Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, or are over age 45. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems also affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. A history of gestational diabetes is a risk factor for women. Type 2 diabetes can prevented or delayed by losing weight if you are overweight, being active for 30 minutes most days of the week, and following a reduced-calorie eating plan.
Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman is pregnant. Generally speaking, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can lead to other health problems
Over time, having diabetes can lead to other health problems -- especially if it goes untreated. The following health issues can occur:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- eye problems
- dental disease
- nerve damage
- foot problems
Who does diabetes affect?
In 2015, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes. Of the 30.3 million adults with diabetes, 23.1 million were diagnosed, and 7.2 million were undiagnosed. Each year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes affects the following ethnic groups:
- 7.4% of non-Hispanic whites
- 8.0% of Asian Americans
- 12.1% of Hispanics
- 12.7% of non-Hispanic blacks
- 15.1% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives
Managing & treating diabetes
If you have diabetes, you can still live a normal and healthy life through proper treatment. Most individuals who have diabetes take insulin or other diabetic medicines. The medicine you take depends on the type of diabetes you have to manage your blood sugar levels. However, maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle can also help manage diabetes.
Individuals with type 1 diabetes must take insulin, because their bodies do not produce the hormone. Insulin is typically taken multiple times a day and can be administered via injection or using an insulin pump.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease by making health food choices and having an active lifestyle. Medication is sometimes required for this type of diabetes, but it varies per person.
How Apicha CHC can help you
Apicha CHC can help you manage and treat your diabetes with the help of providers, case managers, and a registered dietitian. Our in-house pharmacy is also available to patients so they can easily access their medication and prescriptions.