photo credit: stevendepolo
Approximately 6 million Americans are walking around with diabetes and have no idea. That statistic and the drive to educate the public about the facts and myths of the disease have inspired the American Diabetes Association to promote awareness with Alert Day which is today, March 23, 2010. According to Diabetes.org, over 23 million adults and kids have diabetes in this country. That figure makes up almost 8% of our nation's population.
In the spirit of Alert Day, let's look at the some of the facts that surround this life threatening disease. First of all, there are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. With this type of diabetes, the body does not produce enough of a hormone called insulin which is needed to convert sugar (glucose) and starches into energy. Only 5-10% of the population have Type 1 diabetes.
The most common form of diabetes is Type 2. This form of the disease is also related to the hormone insulin. Either the body does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells ignore the hormone. Glucose is then left in the body instead of being used for energy. When the glucose builds up in the blood, complications can arise. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 of the disease can be prevented or delayed by living a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of exercise, and eating a balanced diet plays a significant role in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes happens only to pregnant women at around 28 weeks of pregnancy. This type of the disease requires expectant mothers to closely monitor their blood glucose levels. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes will need to follow special meal plans and maintain a level of physical activity. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after women give birth. However, those women are more likely to have the condition return with future pregnancies.
With Type 2 diabetes being the only form of the disease that is preventable, finding out if you are at risk for the illness is extremely important. The Stop Diabetes web site which is sponsored by the American Diabetes Association, provides a simple and free risk test that can help you determine if you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes. With 1.6 million new diabetes cases diagnosed every year, prevention and determining risk factors of the disease has never been more important.
Take a few minutes and click on the risk test link above to determine if you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Why not take it a step further and email the link or this article to loved ones. Mention that today is Alert Day and diabetes awareness is important to their health. Diabetes is a disease that does not discriminate against age or gender. 23.5 million adults over the age of 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes and men and women have been equally affected. Today is the perfect day to increase awareness and encourage prevention.
If you are living in the Metro Detroit area and interested in finding out more about diabetes, there are plenty of resources and organizations at your disposal. For those wanting information on Type 1 or juvenile diabetes check out JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan chapter. Anyone seeking info on all types of diabetes and treatment options, contact Grunberger Diabetes Institute which is located on Woodward Ave. in Bloomfield, Hills.