59. Diabetes: Warnings and Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Since the discovery of insulin in 1921, managing diabetes has become more effective than ever.

Normally, your body changes sugars and starch into glucose (a simple sugar), which serves as fuel. Glucose needs to get into the cells to be used for energy. Insulin is needed for this to occur. Diabetes results when no insulin is made, not enough insulin is made, or the insulin is not used properly. Some persons with diabetes have to take insulin by injection or take medication(s) by mouth to help the body regulate blood glucose.

Watch for the onset of the following symptoms.

  1. Passing urine often.

  2. Excessive thirst.

  3. Extreme hunger.

  4. Unusual weight loss.

  5. Increased fatigue.

  6. Irritability.

  7. Blurred vision.

If you have one or more of these signs and symptoms, see your doctor. Some people show no warning signs whatsoever and find out they’re diabetic after a routine blood test. Follow your doctor’s advice for screening tests for diabetes. Persons with high blood pressure and/or high LDL (bad) cholesterol should be screened. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should be screened, too. Being overweight increases your risk significantly. A diet high in sugar and low in fiber may increase your risk as well.

There are four types of diabetes.

  1. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults, but can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin.

  2. Type 2 diabetes most often affects people who are older, are overweight, and who have parents, sisters, or brothers who have diabetes. This type is most often treated with diet and exercise and sometimes oral medicine. Insulin injections may be required, as well. Weight loss and a change in diet may control the problem for some persons.

  3. Pre-diabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes. Many people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Modest weight loss and moderate physical activity can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

  4. Gestational diabetes is a type that occurs only during pregnancy. It usually ends when the pregnancy ends. It does, though, increase the risk for the mother to get diabetes in the future.

Diabetes can be a very serious illness. If it is not treated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and blindness.

Chapter 2
  1. Major Medical Conditions:

  2. Prevention, Detection, and Treatment