When patients approach their physicians about managing their Diabetes, it would be nice if they were given a little booklet called Your Essential Diabetes Guide.
Unfortunately thousands of the newly diagnosed, and even those who’ve lived with Diabetes for years, just don’t get the basics.
Life for them is really harder than it should be, but for lack of communication.
Understanding the important basics, or as I call it, Your Essential Diabetes Guide is learning about the ways in which the three types (Pre-Diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2)differ and what they have in common. It’s the first step toward effectively managing your own diagnosis.
To get a complete picture, here are some numbers to start the list:
The latest statistics from the American Diabetes Association report that In 2015, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes.
- 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year, an alarming number.
In 2015, 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
This means they are at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes unless they are willing to make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes for prevention.
Type 1 Diabetes:
1.25 million American children and adults have Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes is increasingly prevalent but also largely preventable.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Type 2 Diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 % of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults.
Deaths: Diabetes remained the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in 2015.
So here’s Your Essential Diabetes Guide, starting with the 3 types:
1. Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and was previously known as Juvenile Diabetes.
- In Type 1 Diabetes, the body does not produce insulin.
Insulin is the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into the energy we need for getting us through the day.
While only 5% of diabetics are diagnosed with Type 1, with the help of insulin therapy, via injection or insulin pumps, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live healthy lives.
The most common symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes are:
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Extreme fatigue and Irritability
2. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.
Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and many don’t even know they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk of developing Type 2 than others.
- Type 2 Diabetes is more common in African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as among the aged population.
However, the rate of obesity in the United States is now out of hand, and the numbers of newly diagnosed Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes cases are climbing daily.
In Type 2 Diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin.
➡ Normally (in a healthy person) when you eat food, the body breaks down all the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body.
➡ Insulin carries the sugar from the blood into the cells. But, when glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes:
- Any of the Type 1 symptoms
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
- Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
If you have a family history of Diabetes, please make sure your Doctor knows it and orders occasional blood work to check your blood glucose (sugar) levels.
More Basics From Your Essential Diabetes Guide:
Signs & Symptoms Of Complications:
➡ Vision/Eyes: Keep your risk of glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems low with regular checkups. Read about these conditions here.
➡ Foot Complications:
- Learn about Diabetic nerve damage, called neuropathy (which can cause numbness in the feet, preventing you from noticing other developing complications, such as nerve damage).
- And also, learn how to prevent the damage by caring for your feet properly.
➡ Skin Complications: Stay alert for symptoms of skin infections and other disorders common in people with diabetes. These can lead to amputation if not monitored closely.
And here is one of the most important sections of Your Essential Diabetes Guide :
Take Care Of Your Heart.
Learn the ABC’s of Heart Disease so you can support a healthy heart and manage your diabetes.
A: Assess your risk for heart disease and take aspirin if prescribed by your Doctor.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have released guidelines stating that every adult should have their cardiovascular risk calculated at least every five years.
Simple factors like age, race, and cholesterol, can help you find out just how likely it is that you’ll develop heart disease in the next 10 years.
Ask your doctor to assess your risk at your next check-up.
- High blood pressure—also called hypertension—is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, eye problems, and kidney disease, which include:
- Acute kidney disease
- Chronic and End-Stage kidney failure.
By monitoring your blood pressure and taking steps to control it, such as losing weight, improving your diet and taking medication when prescribed by your Doctor, serious complications associated with hypertension can be prevented.
Note: It’s estimated that 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure, so it’s important to keep track of your blood pressure over time.
C: Cholesterol and Cigarettes
- Having your total cholesterol levels checked regularly is also an important key to preventing heart disease.
It’s important to discuss potential strategies for lowering cholesterol levels with your doctor. Read more about it here.
Smoking: Tobacco use increases the risk of heart attack and stroke and can lead to multiple types of cancers, and lung disease
D: Diabetes treatment and Diet control.
Diabetes drastically increases risks for heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions.
Keeping your blood sugar stable, making healthy lifestyle choices and taking medication, when necessary, can help prevent complications associated with diabetes.
E: If you’re a smoker (and that includes E-Cigarettes) it’s important to discuss smoking cessation aids with your doctor.
Read our article on the latest research about the safety of E-Cigarettes by clicking the links at the bottom of this article.
Adults and children both can help prevent heart disease, Pre-Diabetes, and Type 2 Diabetes with a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, there are no prevention strategies or cures for Type 1 Diabetes, but modern science is making it easier and easier to manage for both children and adults.
However, multiple options and resources are available to help you or a loved one prevent Pre-Diabetes from becoming Type 2, or to manage a confirmed diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
Scroll through the menu on the right-hand side of any page on this site and read what applies to you. Then, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to use the “Get In Touch” link at the top of every page to send me your questions or ask for more information.
Also, check out the American Diabetes Association for more help and support