Facts About Diabetes

Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “pre-diabetes” — blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. There are 54 million people in the United States who have pre-diabetes. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes.

The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

There are two major types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone that “unlocks” the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

There is also pre-diabetes which is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are 54 million Americans who have pre-diabetes, in addition to the 20.8 million with diabetes.

Diabetes symptoms may vary from person to person but most of the time anyone with diabetes will experience some or all of these symptoms. Some symptoms are: going to the restroom more often, staying thirsty, fatigue, blurred vision, stomach pain and occasionally people suffer from weight loss.

Type 1 diabetes is normally only found in children and type 2 diabetes is found mostly in adults but not always. There are some cases where children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Some people may be diagnosed with being borderline diabetic, which normally ends up turning into full Glucofort blown diabetes but not always.

Some of the most important things people with diabetes should know is a healthy, nutritional diet and a regular exercise program can help in treating the disease. Speak with your doctor about what kind of diet you should consider following, along with a moderate exercise program. The doctor or a nutritionist should be able to tell you exactly what kinds of foods you should be avoiding and give you some tips on how much exercise you need every week. Doing this has many health benefits and will also make you feel so much better about yourself.

You should know the truth about some of the most common myths about diabetes. Myth #1 You can catch diabetes from someone else. No. Although we don’t know exactly why some people develop diabetes, we know diabetes is not contagious. It can’t be caught like a cold or flu. There seems to be some genetic link in diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle factors also play a part.

Myth #2 People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate. If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more “off limits” to people with diabetes, than they are to people without diabetes.

Myth #3 Eating too much sugar causes diabetes. No. Diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. However, being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. If you have a history of diabetes in your family, eating a healthy meal plan and regular exercise are recommended to manage your weight.

Myth #4 People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods. A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is the same as that for everyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and “dietetic” versions of sugar-containing foods offer no special benefit. They still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.

Myth #5 If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta. Starchy foods are part of a healthy meal plan. What is important is the portion size. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. The key is portions. For most people with diabetes, having 3-4 servings of carbohydrate-containing foods is about right. Whole grain starchy foods are also a good source of fiber, which helps keep your gut healthy.

Myth #6 People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses. No. You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any infection interferes with your blood glucose management, putting you at risk of high blood glucose levels and, for those with type 1 diabetes, an increased risk of ketoacidosis.

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