Diabetes is an increasingly serious problem in the USA, and is a medical condition characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood.
The blood sugar hurts the kidneys, raises blood pressure, and contributes to heart disease. As such, untreated diabetes can lead to kidney failure, heart attacks, and amputations.
Right now, about 20 million people have diabetes, of which an astonishing 6 million don’t know they have it. The economic cost is staggering, an estimated $116 billion annually.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
- inability to concentrate
- frequent urination
- increased thirst
Your risk of diabetes is even higher if you have
- a BMI over 25
- a sedentary lifestyle
- a family history of diabetes
- elevated cholesterol levels
How is Diabetes Treated?
Diabetes is first treated as minimally as possible. First diet modification, exercise and weight loss are recommended. If this does not adequately lower blood sugar levels, then a medication may be added such as insulin.
What are the types of Diabetes?
Type 1 is a chronic disease that develops because the pancreas stops producing adequate levels of insulin. While this is rarely reversible, it is relatively easy to treat via artificially providing insulin.
In contrast, Type 2 diabetes develops commonly because of lifestyle choices such as being sedentary. As such, it is more reversible. On the other hand, it is also less treatable when it does develop.
The problem with Type 2 is not that the pancreas stops producing adequate amounts of insulin. Instead, the body starts to become resistant to it. That means that it has to produce ever-increasing amounts of insulin to get the body to digest sugar properly. And injecting insulin artificially doesn’t do as much to help because the body is already resistant to it.
As such, it’s very important to recognize when someone has elevated levels of blood sugar and is at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Very often with appropriate lifestyle changes, and possibly medication, the diabetes can be avoided altogether.
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Diabetes Update 2009