American Diabetes Month: How Sugar Ruins Your Health
Every year, the American Diabetes Association sounds the alarm. During the month of November, Americans everywhere learn about diabetes, including how to live with and prevent it. While millions currently have the disease, millions more don’t understand the risks.
The two types of diabetes
There are two types of diabetes, appropriately named Type 1 and Type 2. No matter which type someone has, there are options available for everyone with the disease to live a normal life.
Type 1 is the rarer form of the disease. It can occur at any age and does not discriminate when it comes to race, gender or weight. When someone has Type 1 diabetes, their body does not produce insulin.
What is insulin? It’s a hormone that the body needs to get blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) from the bloodstream into the body’s cells for energy.
Insulin therapy can be used to treat Type 1 diabetes. Treatment also includes living a healthy lifestyle of exercise and a healthy diet.
Type 2 is the more common form of diabetes. While with Type 1 the body does not produce insulin at all, with Type 2 the body is not able to use insulin properly. Some people with Type 2 diabetes can control the disease with healthy eating and exercise. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Others need medication and insulin to help manage it.
What causes diabetes?
There are different reasons why someone develops Type 1 or 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes happens when your immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body undergoes insulin resistance where your muscle and fat cells do not use insulin well. Your pancreas creates more insulin and, eventually, is unable to keep up with the demand.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, scientists are not 100% sure what causes Type 1 diabetes, although they think it is caused by genes and environmental factors. Type 2 diabetes is caused by a number of things, including lack of physical activity, a diet high in sugar (which includes fast carbs, such as white bread), high weight and extra belly fat, and genetics.
Tips to prevent diabetes
While your chance of developing diabetes is partially determined by age and genetics, there are things you can do right now to help:
- Lose 5% to 10% of your body weight. Weight control is an important part of preventing diabetes. If you weigh 250 pounds, shoot for losing 12 to 25 pounds and keeping it off.
- Stop smoking. Smoking has been shown to contribute to insulin resistance which can then lead to Type 2 diabetes.
- Talk to a healthcare provider. Your provider can recommend alternative solutions to delay or prevent diabetes. They may also know if you are high risk and can prescribe certain medication. Don’t have a provider? Midwest Express Clinic providers are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Every November, people learn a little more about the risk of diabetes. Midwest Express Clinic is committed to spreading knowledge about the disease and ways to prevent it for every American. Simply following a healthier lifestyle can give you peace of mind and a lesser chance of developing diabetes.