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Diabetes: A Disease to Be Aware of

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Photo by Betacells via Flickr

November is Diabetes Awareness month.  Since I’ve known many people with diabetes over the years, I know it is a serious condition that can not be ignored.  Many of you know that if someone develops diabetes, proper treatment is essential to prevent complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness or amputation. You also know that currently there is no cure for diabetes.  But, many of you don’t know that, according to the FDA, millions of people have diabetes, and quite a few of them don’t even know that they have it.  That’s a scary thought considering that the complications are life altering or even life threatening.

What is Diabetes?
The first thing you have to know is that diabetes is the inability of the body to create or use insulin.  Insulin is a hormone that helps our cells absorb glucose and use it as energy.  Glucose is the main sugar in our blood and an essential fuel for our body.  It is necessary for proper functioning of all cells especially our brain cells.  With diabetes, the glucose is unable to enter the cell and be used as fuel.  This results in too much glucose in the bloodstream, which causes the symptoms of diabetes.  The mains type of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2.

  1. Type 1 Diabetes: Also known as juvenile-onset diabetes, this is the type of diabetes where the pancreas is unable to create any or only insufficient amounts of insulin.  This is normally seen in children or young adults.  The treatment is the regular injection of insulin.
  2. Type 2 Diabetes: Also known as adult-onset diabetes and non-insulin dependent diabetes, this is the most common form of diabetes.  It begins when the body does not use insulin correctly or is unable to make enough insulin.  It mostly occurs in middle aged adults and older, but recently more children and younger adults have started to develop it.  Treatment can be pills, a change in diet, regular physical activity and sometimes insulin shots.

Sweet tooth won’t cause Diabetes
Consuming large amounts of sugar does not cause adult-onset diabetes.  This is a misconception that a lot of people hold.  If you have diabetes, it is important to watch your sugar intake to properly control your blood glucose levels, but sugar is not the cause of the disease.  Obesity is the leading contributor to type 2 diabetes and sugar intake is usually not the cause of obesity.  Eating more calories than what you burn is what adds on the extra pounds.  For most people, that comes from eating too much fat, not sugar. Remember that the cakes, ice cream, cookies and other sweets that most people eat derive most of their calories from fat, not sugar.

What causes diabetes?
So, what are the causes of diabetes?  Researchers don’t know all the factors that cause type 1 diabetes, but they believe the condition can be inherited.  As for type 2 diabetes, there are multiple factors that can increase your risk of developing diabetes.  Some factors you can’t control are family history, advancing age, belonging to certain ethnic and racial groups and developing gestational diabetes while pregnant.  Some risk factors you can control are obesity, high cholesterol and having an inactive lifestyle.

So, if you are worried about diabetes, remember that it is the calories, not your sugar intake that can cause obesity, which in turn can lead to diabetes.  So, the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes, is eating healthy meals and getting enough physical activity!

Since I was only able to touch briefly on this important topic, you can find out more about diabetes by visiting the website of the American Diabetes Association.

Comments (7)

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  1. Thanks for the reminder. Many people are “pre-diabetic” and don’t know it. Their fasting glucose is just a smidge above normal, but that greatly increases their risk to become a full-blown type 2 diabetic.
    The good news is weight reduction and exercise can prevent a significant number from going over the edge.

  2. sophia jason says:

    Diabetes is a deadly the disease that silently damage different organs of the body. Diabetes has had a rather major impact on my kidneys. People with diabetes can reduce their risk for complications if they are educated about their disease. Diabetes patients with the help of their health care providers, should set goals for better control of blood glucose levels, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Visit the website to know more click here, read more about DIABETES AND KIDNEY DISEASE

  3. French scientists have found that a glass of white wine (surprisingly) everyday can have a beneficial effect for people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes.

  4. Talli, bonjour… I just noticed a typo in my website – I can’t edit it.

  5. Knatchwa says:

    you make some excellent posts on diabetes, I had also read additional posts on some of the results of a raw diet that can be helpful in the recovery of diabetes, though it really is a matter of lifestyle.

  6. Tony Rose says:

    Another great resource is the JDRF – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

    On another note, a diabetic type diet is probably good for anyone. Lower sugar and carbohydrate intake.

    I recently wrote a little piece about why Diabetes is the worst kind of killer – http://tinyurl.com/6f4b3k

    Great post!

  7. […] proper diet plays a vital role in preventing a host of issues, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.  Healthy eating can also give you more energy and help […]

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