Articles & Recipes

Five Things Everyone Should Know About Diabetes

November 3, 2018

Five Things Everyone Should Know About Diabetes

by Sharon Zeiler, diabetes expert and author of 250 Essential Diabetes Recipes


1. Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that affects about one person in 10 in North America — about 35 million people of all ages, and the number is increasing.


2. There are several forms of diabetes:

    About 10% of those affected have type 1 diabetes. It usually appears in childhood but can also develop in adults. The pancreas stops producing insulin, so people with type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin on a regular basis.

    About 90% have type 2 diabetes. Although it typically occurs in adults, it can also affect children and adolescents. Some people with type 2 diabetes are able to bring their blood glucose levels into the healthy range with weight loss and healthy eating habits. Others will also need to take oral hypoglycemic agents (pills), and some will need to inject insulin as well.

    Gestational diabetes (GDM), a temporary but serious condition, affects 3% to 4% of pregnant women. These mothers and their babies face increased risk for complications in pregnancy and delivery, as well as a risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

    Prediabetes refers to above-normal blood glucose levels that are not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Untreated, however, prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes.


3. All forms of diabetes should be treated to prevent or delay serious complications, including eye problems, heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage and erectile dysfunction.


4. Healthy eating is an important strategy for preventing type 2 diabetes and for controlling blood glucose levels in all types of diabetes.


5. Even with proper management and good eating habits, diabetes is a progressive disease, so you may find that your blood glucose is not as well controlled as it once was. Your health-care provider may recommend a change in your medication.

 


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