When we eat, food turns into fuel for our bodies but the fuel needs to get into our cells. Diabetes occurs when sugar (glucose) levels rise in your blood and are unable to enter your cells appropriately. Our bodies create the hormone insulin and insulin takes the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells that use the glucose for energy.
Diabetes is the condition used to describe when this process stops working correctly.
Roughly 3,700 adults in our area have Diabetes. Diabetes is separated into three subsets and one other subset, prediabetes:
This is the type of Diabetes that young people are diagnosed with. Usually the symptoms come on very rapidly and people with this type of Diabetes need to take insulin to survive but are able to live normal life. This type of Diabetes is an autoimmune reaction which means that the body attacks itself by mistake and destroys or reduces its own capacity to create insulin. At this time, it is not clearly understood what causes Type 1 Diabetes.
This is the type of Diabetes that is associated primarily with lifestyle. It occurs when cells become resistant to insulin or when the body doesn’t make enough insulin to help glucose into the cells. Being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle are two of the main factors regarding risk of this type of Diabetes.
Both types of diabetes can be effectively controlled with insulin, diet, and physical activity.
Occurs in pregnant women who have never had Diabetes before. It usually resolves after pregnancey but women who experience Gestational Diabetes are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in the future. Children born to mothers with Gestational Diabetes also have a higher risk of becoming obese in childhood and developing Type 2 Diabetes in adulthood.
Our area has one of the highest rates in the state for Type 2 Diabetes but one of the lowest for pre diabetes which means we are really good at treating but not super good at avoiding Diabetes.
A few little things go a long way when it comes to treating and managing Diabetes. Exercise, healthy eating, losing weight all reduce the risk of getting diabetes and help effectively control diabetes.
The best course of action is to get screened for blood levels when you visit your doctor. Ask your doctor any questions you may have. Dietitians, Diabetes Educators in the area are available to coach and assist individuals with Diabetes. The Health Department also will be beginning a class in September to address prediabetes