Diabetes: Learning More About A National Epidemic

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and I think it's important for people to learn more about how many people are affected by this disease. According to the American Diabetes Association almost 26 million children and adults are currently living with diabetes.

A staggering 79 million more are pre-diabetic and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. That is three times more people that are on their way to developing it during their lifetime.

Diabetes, which is caused by hyperglycemia, is literally high blood sugar levels in the blood vessels all of the time. Normally our blood sugar levels are high only after meals because the blood sugar increases from the meal and then it goes into the cells to be used as energy by the cells.

When the blood sugar levels are high all of the time they can cause several symptoms such as constant hunger, frequent urination and excessive thirst. It can also cause fatigue, blurry vision, weight gain or weight loss.

Type 2 diabetes develops slowly and as a result these symptoms may show up so slowly over time that a person may not realize it is developing.

People that have diabetes and are unaware it or do not control their blood sugar levels well can experience very serious and debilitating complications.

You can have eye problems, difficulty seeing at night, and end up in the final stages blindness. Your feet or skin can develop nasty infections that might lead to amputations.

The high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves causing pain, tingling or loss of feeling in the nerves. The nerve damage can affect digestion, cause difficulty urinating and for men, problems with erections.

There are actually two types of diabetes.

Type 1 occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough or any insulin and as a result the patient has to take insulin shots to control their insulin.

Type 2 diabetes, which make up the majority of cases diagnosed, occurs when the cells of the body become resistant to insulin, and glucose stays in the bloodstream instead of passing to the cells.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called "adult onset diabetes".

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