National Diabetes Awareness Week

Published on Nov 15, 2022 | 11:19 AM

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Diabetes affects the body’s ability to get energy from glucose. People with this condition are either not able to produce sufficient insulin (Type 1) or are unable to use the insulin their body makes to its full potential (Type 2).

When either of these things occurs, an excess of sugar remains in the blood. Left unchecked, too much sugar in the bloodstream can lead to the development of serious problems like kidney and heart disease, as well as vision loss. Unfortunately, 20% of people with diabetes may never know they have it.

The Causes of Diabetes

Some cases of type 1 diabetes are thought to be caused by the body mistakenly attacking itself. This reaction is thought to prevent the body from producing insulin. Other cases of type 1 diabetes may occur as the result of genetic predisposition, where some occur without any family history of the condition, such as is the case with gestational diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by the abnormal interaction of liver, fat, and muscle cells with insulin, also known as insulin resistance. Another cause is the inability of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin for the management of sugar levels in the blood.

Diabetes Symptoms

Some symptoms of diabetes are similar with both types. These include:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Unusual hunger

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Symptoms specific to type 1 diabetes include:

  • Excessive urination
  • Irritability
  • A feeling of general weakness

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Symptoms specific to type 2 diabetes include:

  • Darkened skin in the neck and armpit areas
  • Tingling or numbness in the feet and hands
  • Frequent viral or bacterial infections
  • Slow healing of cuts and sores

Risk Factors

People who want to prevent type 1 diabetes should be aware of the risk factors and know how to spot type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Risk Factors

In type 1 diabetes, the risk factors typically involve family history, genetics, geography, and age. Having a sibling or parent with type 1 diabetes will raise your risk, albeit slightly.

Having specific genes puts you at higher risk, as does being between certain ages. It was discovered that type 1 diabetes appears in more children between the ages of four to seven and between ten to fourteen years of age, specifically, rather than at other ages.

Type 2 Risk Factors

Type 2 risk factors also include family history and age. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life is higher. Obesity has been identified as being a main risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes, as has physical inactivity.

Having abdominal fat can raise type 2 risk, as can having low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides. Individuals from specific ethnic communities, such as Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians, are also at increased risk.

Prediabetes can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, as can having gestational diabetes. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also increase risk.

Important Considerations

There is no known cure for diabetes but diet and exercise, along with losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle, can help you manage or reverse type 2 diabetes.

Those with type 1 diabetes must focus on keeping their blood glucose levels as stable as possible during the day. This will involve frequent blood sugar testing and receiving regular doses of insulin.

In addition to these, it’s important for those with type 1 diabetes to monitor the foods they eat on a daily basis. A healthy diet and regular exercise help those with type 1 to maintain a healthy weight and blood sugar level.

The focus for those with type 2 diabetes is on prevention. Therefore, healthy foods and meal plans and their exercise levels should be the focus, as these will help convert glucose to energy and assist with the weight loss that is necessary to significantly reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Finally, avoiding sitting for long periods is another way to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Helping Someone with Diabetes

If you know someone with diabetes, obtaining diabetes education will be crucial. Offer dietary support and exercise encouragement to help your loved one manage their diabetes. Diabetic shock can occur when blood sugar drops to too low a level. This can be treated by offering foods that raise blood sugar, such as pop, juice, raisins, or a candy bar.

Testing and Telehealth Services for Diabetes

Diabetes is a common condition that can be managed or reversed with the right diagnosis and lifestyle changes. If you are unsure if you are diabetic and want to get checked, CallonDoc can provide in-person or at-home lab testing for diabetes. Not only can CallonDoc help diagnose diabetes, but can also provide an appropriate treatment plan. If you or a loved one is currently taking diabetes medication, Call-On-Doc can also help with quick prescription refills to make sure you never go without.

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Wayne C. Hahne,

English graduate and Call-On-Doc’s medical resource guide, Wayne C. Hahne is an experienced and passionate medical education content expert. Through diligent research, provider interviews and utilizing the industry's leading resources for wellness information, it is Mr. Hahne’s personal mission to educate the general public on medical conditions with in-depth and easy-to-understand written guides.

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