Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, 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.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease that can cause serious health complications (including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations). Managing diabetes is doable and incredibly important!
Know the Numbers:
- 7 out of every 100 adults in Louisiana have diabetes
- Louisiana has the highest death rate from diabetes in the country
- Of all ethnicities, African Americans are more likely to have diabetes, with a 13.7% diagnosis rate
- Diabetes is the 7th overall leading cause of death in the United States
Types, Symptoms and Diagnosis
The most common types of Diabetes are Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational.
Type 1 diabetes means your body does not make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with Type 1 need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
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.
Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Typically, 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.
Common Symptoms of Diabetes
The following symptoms of diabetes are typical:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
(*some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed)
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.
Take the ADA Risk Test to find out if you are at increased risk for having type 2 diabetes.
(information from the American Diabetes Association website)