Diabetes is so common that we all know at least one person who lives with the struggles this condition brings. For some, they just need to carefully watch their diet to ensure that what they are putting into their bodies isn’t going to have an adverse reaction. For others, though, they live with the pain of giving themselves daily injections of insulin so they can maintain a semi-normal lifestyle.
If diabetes is something you’ve heard of, but don’t honestly know anything about, then here are five things you should probably know.
Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes. This is an autoimmune condition that often makes its appearance in a person’s childhood. The condition causes the body to attack the pancreas with antibodies. Because the pancreas is damaged it stops making insulin so the person will have to get insulin from an outside source.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 95% of diabetic cases, according to WebMD. This form of diabetes appears in adults or even teenagers. In this case, the pancreas usually still produces insulin, but it is either not enough or the body rejects what is being made. Resistance to the insulin that is being produced typically occurs in the fat, liver, and muscle cells.
Who is living with diabetes?
In 2015, around 9.4 percent of the U.S. population had been diagnosed with diabetes or were prediabetic, according to the CDC. For those who are prediabetic, if they remain untreated they will usually develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, “About one-third of all people with diabetes do not know they have the disease.” There are some people with type 2 diabetes that don’t actually exhibit any symptoms.
Signs of Diabetes
According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, common signs of diabetes include the following:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Increased hunger
- Blurry vision
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Frequent skin, bladder, or gum infections
- Wounds that don’t heal
- Extreme unexplained fatigue
Other Problems from Diabetes
One condition that can be caused by diabetes is peripheral neuropathy. This is when the nerves in your extremities, like your hands and feet, stop working correctly. If this happens you can experience burning, cramps, sensitive skin, joint pain, and many other awful things. Treatments are often nerve pain medication and physical therapy.
Other problems that diabetes can lead to include but are not limited to include:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney failure
- Nerve damage
Unfortunately, diabetes is not preventable. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, but scientists are still not entirely sure what causes it. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease has some suggestions for how to lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. These include:
- Maintain a healthy weight for your body type.
- Try to be active for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
- Drink water and choose healthy food options.