MANKATO — Approximately 25.8 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes and 7 million remain undiagnosed, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Diabetes is a chronic disease that costs our nation thousands of lives each year, so it’s important that everyone gain greater awareness about diabetes prevention and management.
- What is diabetes? Diabetes can be caused by insufficient production of, or resistance to, a hormone called insulin. There are several types of diabetes, all of which are a result of excessively high blood sugar (glucose).
- Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and was formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes. Type 1 is caused by the body not producing enough insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and affects millions of Americans – both diagnosed and undiagnosed. With type 2 diabetes, the body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin. Obesity is a key factor in developing insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes may occur during the latter half of pregnancy in women who did not previously have diabetes. These women are considered at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. It’s important to monitor blood sugar levels throughout the pregnancy to keep the mother and child healthy.
- Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are abnormally high, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Individuals diagnosed with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, so it should be proactively addressed through weight reduction and regular exercise.
- What are symptoms of diabetes? Prediabetes often has no obvious signs. However, common symptoms of other forms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination.
- Excessive hunger and/or thirst.
- Unusual weight loss.
Additional signs of type 2 diabetes include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent and recurring infections.
- Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet.
- Slow healing cuts or bruises.