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Diabetes Fact Sheet
Diabetes is an insidious condition afflicting an estimated 27 million Americans.
And more than one third of them don't yet know they have it! When you think on a global scale, and consider all of the Emerging Nations the number of diabetics is staggering! 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic, meaning they are very likely to become diabetic within the next 10 years.
The latest statistics estimate there are approximately 246 million people diagnosed with diabetes worldwide, and that number is expected to rise to 380 million by the year 2025!
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that effects how your body uses the food that you eat each day. Glucose is a simple sugar, which is your body’s primary source of energy. The digestive process turns the meal you just ate into glucose, which is then distributed, throughout your body via the bloodstream. Some of this “blood sugar” is used by the brain, which requires a constant supply of glucose and other cells, which also need immediate energy. The rest is stored in the liver and muscles as a starch called glycogen or as fat to be used later as your body’s energy needs require it.
A normal body maintains an even balance of sugar in the blood to properly satisfy the body’s energy needs. Any disruption creates a chemical imbalance: too low a blood sugar level causes Hypoglycemia and too high a blood sugar level causes Hyperglycemia.
The pancreas is an organ that produces the hormone Insulin, which helps maintain the proper levels of blood sugar and is a vital component to the smooth transition of glucose into the cells. When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to properly release glycogen from the liver to the bloodstream or the body doesn’t correctly use it the result is high blood sugar or diabetes.
Two Types of Diabetes
Type 1, occurs when the body produces no insulin at all. Children frequently suffer from this type of diabetes. Along with diet and exercise, daily insulin injections are necessary for the diabetic’s very survival. Type 2 exists when the pancreas produces insulin (to varying degrees), but the body does not properly use it. This type is referred to as type 2 diabetes (formerly Adult Onset Diabetes), but is being diagnosed more frequently among teenagers and children than ever before. This type may respond well to lifestyle changes including proper diet and exercise, but may require insulin. Thanks to ongoing research, oral medications are now available, but for more serious cases insulin injections may still be necessary.
The Complications from Diabetes
• 215,000 deaths annually and expected to increase more than cancer and AID's combined.
• An estimated 25% of all kidney and dialysis patients are diabetic. 10 – 15% of all
• The cause of approximately 50% of all foot and leg amputations from non-traumatic causes (accidents) -- 82,000 amputations annually.
• Diabetics are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease and 6 times more likely than non-diabetics to suffer a stroke
• An estimated 24,000 new cases of blindness annually
• 60-70% of all diabetics have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage, which may include impaired sensation in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, and carpal tunnel syndrome to name a few
• 30% of people over age 19 with Type 1 have reported problems with periodontal disease a type of gum disease that leads to tooth loss
• Complications in pregnancy
• The possibility of acute life-threatening events such as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar nonketotic coma (Yes you read that correctly COMA)
• A higher susceptibility to many other illnesses such as influenza and pneumonia
• Diabetics are 65% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease
Is Diabetes Preventable?
For many people the disease is completely preventable through proper nutrition and fitness. There will always be some individuals who, for genetic reasons, will be at greater risk for the disease than others, but again, for many this disease is entirely preventable.
Is There a Cure for Diabetes?
No. However, with proper and prompt treatment the disease can be controlled and complications avoided. Once diagnosed as having diabetes a person should immediately:
• Consult with a diabetes specialist called an Endocrinologist. No matter how much you trust your regular physician there is no substitute for expertise when it comes to diabetes. Always be sure to keep your physician informed of any treatment regimes you are undertaking with the specialist.
• Start on a supervised medical and nutritional therapy program.
• Include an individualized physical fitness program into your lifestyle.
What are the warning signs?
• Frequent Urination (in large quantities)
These symptoms occur suddenly and require immediate medical attention!
• Blurred vision
These symptoms often occur gradually. However, they are no less important than those associated with Type 1 and must receive medical attention.
What Should I Do?
• First, remember that for many the disease is entirely preventable through exercise, proper nutrition and weight control.
• Take the Defeat Diabetes® Screening Test
• If the screening test indicates causes for concern see a PHYSICIAN
• Awareness + Action = Prevention®
Updated January 3, 2011
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