Diabetes is a much bigger problem than you may suspect ..
- Did you know that Diabetes affects almost 26 million American adults and children?
- A staggering 79 million people are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
- In 2010, 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in just one year (in people aged 20+ years)
Whilst many of us have heard of Diabetes, what do we really know about it? We use the phrase 'Type 2 Diabetes' when we talk about the problems of obesity but what is it and why is different to Type 1?
Our training guides, charts, realistic anatomical models and simulated diabetic injection kits help explain what Diabetes is and how it can be managed.
What is Diabetes?
Your body is supposed to produce a hormone called insulin. This clever hormone acts when we eat, by turning sugar and starch from our food into energy that we can use to sustain a normal active life. It's a bit like having a car and a gas station - the car needs the fuel to drive around, the gas station has the fuel ..but without the fuel pump the gas is going nowhere..and neither is the car!
So, why are there different Types of Diabetes?
Scientists don't really understand why some people, usually diagnosed as children and young adults, develop Diabetes. Juvenile Diabetes and unexplained cases of the body's inability to produce insulin and manage the levels of sugar make up only 5% of all the people that have Diabetes. Scientists think that Type 1 Diabetes is caused by genetics but they acknowledge that there are some unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease too.
Can you get Type 2 Diabetes by being overweight?
Yes, you can. This form of Diabetes is the most common form of the disease. With the rise of obesity in our society, the risk of developing Diabetes has never been greater.
If you're overweight, the insulin produced by your body is less effective in delivering energy to your cells. As this situation continues, a build up of glucose (sugar) occurs in the blood stream and your body's cells are deprived of essential energy. Whilst the glucose levels continue to rise in your blood, your body can find it harder and harder to sustain the production of insulin. The pancreas is the organ responsible for producing insulin and after a while it can become weak and finally stop producing insulin.
What are the symptoms of Diabetes?
The sooner Diabetes can be diagnosed, the sooner some of the complications of the disease can be lessened or avoided. However, Diabetes symptoms aren't always easy to spot and can easily be ignored.
Symptoms can include:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling unusually thirsty
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Feeling extremely tired and irritable
Although people with Type 2 Diabetes may not notice any symptoms, they can develop any of the symptoms above in conjunction with the following:
- Frequent infections
- blurred vision
- cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
- tingling/numbness in the hands or feet
- recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
Unfortunately, Diabetes increases your risk of developing many serious health problems and can include: eye problems, foot complications, skin infections and disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, emotional problems, oral health issues and nerve damage.
However, by taking care of ourselves, eating a nutritionally balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and taking regular exercise we can avoid many of these problems. Help the American Diabetes Association and help educate others about the dangers of Diabetes and how to avoid them.