10 Things You Should Be Aware About Diabetes! | Healios

10 Things you should be aware about Diabetes!

You’ve probably heard of insulin, blood glucose, finger pricks and carb counting. For the diabetic, they’re a part of daily life–but most of us have little understanding as to just how these things play a role in diabetes, or just why this disease can be so deadly.

It’s one thing to understand what causes diabetes and why it’s so deadly, but having to manage diabetes gets even more complex. Frequent finger pricks, dosing insulin, remembering to take medications, choosing the right carbohydrates and diligently counting them at each meal isn’t easy–but it’s essential.

A little knowledge goes a long way, so here are 10 things you should know about diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes occurs when an immune response causes damage to the pancreas and insulin cannot be produced. Type 1 Diabetics must take insulin daily.
  • Type 2 Diabetes occurs when tissues in the body become resistant to insulin. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type, making up about 95% of cases, and is associated with being overweight, poor diet and physical inactivity.
  • Gestational diabetes, or diabetes during pregnancy, can occur due to the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.
  • If blood sugar is not controlled over time, high amounts of sugar in the blood will damage tiny blood vessels and nerves.
  • High levels of sugar in the blood causes damage to the small blood vessels within the retina leading to worsening vision and possibly blindness.
  • High blood sugar damages tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, which decreases this organ’s ability to filter blood. High blood pressure, which is common in diabetes, only increases kidney damage.
  • High blood sugar can lead to nervous system damage leading to impaired sensation in the hands or feet, slowed digestion and other nerve problems. Ulcers may form on the hands or feet and, if left untreated, can lead to amputation.
  • Diabetics are at greater risk for stroke, dental, and heart disease. Approximately 20% of diabetics will die of stroke, making it a leading cause of death in this population.
  • Diabetes is known as the “silent killer” because many people with Type 2 Diabetes are unaware they have it. Unless very high, the effects of elevated blood sugar may go unnoticed.
  • When it comes to Type 2 Diabetes, lifestyle changes to lose weight (think healthy eating and regular exercise) are more effective in preventing or delaying diabetes than medications. Not surprisingly, making small, healthy lifestyle changes are less costly, too.

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