Is diabetes preventable?

Is diabetes preventable?

Diabetes affects more than 29 million Americans, while another 86 million Americans run some level of increased risk of developing the disease. And yet, despite these numbers, most people know very little about this very serious disease.

Diabetes can occur due to a shortage of insulin in the body or because the body cannot properly use insulin, or both. Our bodies use insulin to convert blood sugar into energy and to manage its glucose (sugar) levels. An excess of sugar in the blood system can cause damage to organs, which can also lead to other diseases. People with diabetes are at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness, as well as a higher risk for amputation.

There are three types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes occurs when cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin are destroyed by the body's immune system and therefore cannot produce insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections to help their bodies process the food they eat. Type 1 diabetes typically occurs in children and young adults, but it can occur at any age. Family history of diabetes and immune system problems are significant risk factors for developing Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin and has trouble using the insulin it does produce. Type 2 diabetes most often occurs in adults, but it can also occur in children and teens. It is also the most common type of the disease. Along with a family history of the disease, people of certain ethnic backgrounds or a history of specific diseases are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Those who smoke, are overweight or inactive are also at risk.

Gestational diabetes occurs due to hormone changes in pregnant women which cause high blood sugar levels that normal insulin production cannot keep up with. Generally, blood sugar levels will return to normal after the baby is born, but women who do develop gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

While Type 1 diabetes is not preventable today, researchers continue to work to understand its cause and develop a cure. On the other hand, while a family history of diabetes may increase your likelihood of developing the disease, Type 2 diabetes can be largely prevented by making smart lifestyle choices and taking good care of your body. By simply maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising on a regular daily basis, eating a healthy, balanced diet, not smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation, you can significantly decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Speak with a physician and/or nutritionist about any diabetes-related questions or concerns you may have. Visit our Facebook page for more information about this seminar and other support groups/seminars and educational offerings.

Posted: 8/14/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: blood, diabetes, of, sugar, types

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