The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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Health & Fitness

November 2, 2012

Speaking of Health: Diabetes awareness: Becoming a healthier type

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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  • .
  • Fatigue.
  • 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.

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