Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Diabetes awareness month
November 2008 is national Diabetes awareness month. So, what should you know about diabetes? Let's start with the basic types. Type 1, or juvenile onset, diabetes is caused by an absolute deficiency of insulin, which is why the treatment involves insulin injections. The type of diabetes that is in the media these days for its rapidly growing numbers is type 2, or adult onset, diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a different ballgame- here, the problem is a resistance to insulin or a decreased production of insulin. Insulin is the key that opens the doors to cells, allowing sugar to come from the blood and move into the cell to be used as energy. When that door wont unlock (because of resistance to insulin) the sugar levels build up in the blood and eventually cause damage in many parts of the body- the eyes, kidneys, nerves, blood vessels and heart.
What are symptoms of diabetes? Being hungry all the time, thirsty all the time, having frequent urination, having an unexplained sudden weight loss or developing fatigue are the classic symptoms, but many people have no obvious symptoms. If you are overweight, especially if you have a family history of diabetes, go and see your doctor and get tested for diabetes. A simple fasting blood test will tell the doctor whether or not your blood sugar is elevated.
Want to find out more? Go to Diabetes.org, the website for the American Diabetes Association.
BOTTOM LINE: An estimated 23.6 million Americans have Diabetes, and 5.7 million of them are undiagnosed. Diabetes can be treated and possibly even prevented with early intervention, so stop worrying or wondering if you have diabetes- get to your doctor and find out!