What Is Diabetes, and Is It Preventable?

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Diabetes is a condition with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal.

First, it’s important to know that there are multiple types of diabetes, including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Type 1:

Type 1, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is extremely serious. It is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and often requires constant medical treatment.

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. As stated by The New York Times, “Weakness, weight loss, frequent urination, and excessive hunger and thirst are among the initial symptoms. Patients with type 1 diabetes need to take daily insulin for survival.”

Although type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, it’s more likely to appear in children, teens and young adults. As recommended by the American Diabetes Association, “With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.”

Type 2:

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is mostly found in adults. It is preventable and usually stems from poor diet.

According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 2 diabetes is a form of the disease related to insulin resistance that causes a relative insulin deficiency. “Insulin resistance is a condition that results from the body’s failure to appropriately use the insulin that it makes and is closely related to being overweight. Most people with diabetes—9 out of 10—have type 2 diabetes.”

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with simple, proven lifestyle changes such as losing weight if you’re overweight, eating healthier, and getting regular physical activity.

Gestational Diabetes:

This form of diabetes occurs when the body isn’t making enough insulin during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes, and affects about 2% to 10% of pregnant women in the U.S. every year.

Gestational diabetes can cause complications during pregnancy, such as the baby being born very large (9 pounds or more) or being born early. It can also put your baby at higher risk of having low blood sugar or developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

There are usually no symptoms for this form of diabetes, so you need to get tested by your OBGYN doctor to find out. Managing gestational diabetes will help make sure you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Although not all forms of diabetes are preventable, early detection is always key. Check with your doctor if you are experiencing any risk factors or symptoms of diabetes.


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