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illustration of diabetes risk factors and complications

A Guide to Diabetes

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   05/30/22

Disease  Exercise  Nutrition  

Do you know that over 37.3 million Americans have diabetes? That's over 11% of the population. But, what is even more alarming is that over 96 million Americans suffer from a condition called pre-diabetes and are not even aware of it.

But, don't worry because diabetes can be managed. So, read on to find out what is diabetes, what are its symptoms, and how you can treat it.

illustration of diabetes risk factors and complications

A Guide to Diabetes

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   05/30/22

Disease  Exercise  Nutrition  

Do you know that over 37.3 million Americans have diabetes? That's over 11% of the population. But, what is even more alarming is that over 96 million Americans suffer from a condition called pre-diabetes and are not even aware of it.

But, don't worry because diabetes can be managed. So, read on to find out what is diabetes, what are its symptoms, and how you can treat it.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the way your body uses glucose. Diabetes impacts the hormone insulin and how it regulates blood sugar levels.

The primary role of insulin is to move sugar from your blood to your cells so it can be either stored or used for energy. If you suffer from diabetes, your pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, or you can't use the produced insulin effectively. Your cells also may stop responding to insulin and the sugar stays in your bloodstream.

Glucose (sugar) is a source of energy for your muscles and tissues as well as your brain. Therefore, your body needs glucose to function properly. However, excess glucose is a potential risk because it can lead to hyperglycemia, which is a high level of sugar in your blood.

Diabetes is a long-lasting condition and presents health risks to many organs such as kidneys, eyes, heart, and nerves.

Although there isn't a cure for diabetes, there are ways to manage it either through a healthy lifestyle or medication.

Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes, Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. In addition, there is a fourth type of diabetes called pre-diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself. This causes your pancreas to stop making insulin.

It is believed that around 5-10% of the population suffers from Type 1 diabetes. It usually affects children, teenagers, and young adults. This type of diabetes develops very quickly and there is no cure for it.

If you suffer from this type of diabetes, you need to monitor your blood sugar and take insulin every day.

Although there is more and more research done on the prevention of diabetes, at the moment no one knows what causes Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not respond to the produced insulin, or the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin.

Because the blood sugar can't be kept at normal levels, it stays in the bloodstream. This causes a high level of glucose in the body.

Type 2 diabetes affects around 90-95% of people who have diabetes. It usually occurs in adults, however, it is also found in children, teenagers, and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes develops over many years, and you may not see any symptoms for a long time. Checking your blood sugar regularly is a good measure to catch early signs of diabetes.

Contrary to type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is preventable. The condition can be delayed through a number of healthy lifestyle changes, such as being active, losing weight, and healthy diet.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes is diabetes while pregnant. A pregnant woman may experience high blood glucose levels during her pregnancy.

This type of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. However, it poses a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. There is also the potential risk that the baby may suffer from obesity and is more likely to also develop type 2 diabetes.

Pre-diabetes

Pre-diabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are much higher than normal, yet not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.

It is estimated that around 38% of Americans may suffer from prediabetes. The biggest danger is that many are unaware that they may have it.

Pre-diabetes can lead to developing Type 2 diabetes as well as increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, pre-diabetes can be reversed.

What Are the Symptoms?

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes develop differently, however, they have some common symptoms. They are all caused by high blood sugar. Usually, women and men experience the same diabetes symptoms.

The most common symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Unexplained weight fluctuation, such as weight loss for type 1, or weight gain for type 2
  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Frequent infections
  • Frequent urination
  • Slow-healing cuts
  • Itchy skin or skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability

Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat when there is not enough insulin )

What Are the Causes?

There are different causes according to the type. Unfortunately, there is no clear cause of why you may develop Type 1 diabetes. Research shows that diet and lifestyle are not factors here. Genetics and the environment may lead to Type 1 diabetes, but more studies need to be done.

In addition, many people with Type 1 diabetes do not have a family history of this disease.

Type 2 diabetes can be caused by your family history.  However, the main causes of Type 2 diabetes are poor diet, high in processed sugars, lack of physical activity, and being overweight or even obese.

Gestational diabetes occurs when hormones responsible to provide nutrition to the baby, interfere with the effectiveness of the mother's insulin production. If the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, glucose stays in the bloodstream, and the high levels lead to the development of gestational diabetes

How to Prevent Diabetes

If you suffer from diabetes you need to learn how to manage the symptoms of the disease. Unfortunately but with Type 1 diabetes you need to regulate your blood sugar through insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes is more manageable.

However, a healthy lifestyle change will be the first port of call in either condition. Healthy lifestyle changes include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight, and losing weight especially if you are overweight or obese
  • Eating healthy food, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol intake
  • Being active and engaging in physical activity daily
  • Medication
  • Alternative diabetic supplements
  • Keeping doctor appointments and educating yourself

Above all, you need to be aware of your condition and how to treat it.

Manage Your Diabetes

This guide showed you what is diabetes and what are the types of diabetes. Although there are no known causes for Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be a result of family history or poor lifestyle choices.

Diabetes can be managed through monitoring your weight, eating healthy foods, and staying active as well as through traditional medication and alternative diabetic supplements.



headshot of Jay Todtenbier 2018
Author

Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.

Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.


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