Learn the Basics About Diabetes

More than 23 million people in the US are diagnosed with diabetes each year. It is now considered as the seventh cause of death in the country and is associated with a significant reduction of life expectancy.

 

Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. It is also associated with the body’s inability to use insulin, a hormone that facilitates the use of glucose (sugar) as fuel. When uncontrolled, the condition can lead to various serious complications. Diabetes doubles one’s risk for heart disease and can also lead to kidney failure, limb amputation and blindness.

 

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Symptoms of Diabetes

The rising rates of diabetes are significant despite the cost of treatment and health care involved. Many people are not aware that they may be suffering from diabetes, since symptoms are usually lacking in its early stages. In people suffering from type 1 diabetes, symptoms include extreme hunger and thirst, tiredness, unexplained weight loss and frequent urination. In addition to these, people with type 2 diabetes also experience failing vision, tingling in the hands and feet, delayed healing, and infections. The disease is often diagnosed based on laboratory tests.

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Read more about the symptoms of diabetes and tests used to diagnose the disease.

Risk Factors and Prevention of Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is more common among people who have a family history of the disease and among the obese. Fortunately, losing weight, eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough exercise can reduce their risk significantly. Other factors like aging and racial characteristics may affect one’s risk for the disease, but individuals may reduce the likelihood for developing diabetes by adapting a healthy lifestyle.

Treatment and Disease Management

Although diabetes is often not curable, the diseases can be managed and treated to prevent future complications. The aim is to control blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces the risk for complications. Common strategies include eating a healthy, balanced diet, losing weight, staying physically active, taking medications to control blood sugar levels, and monitoring glucose levels using devices.

Coping with Diabetes

Diabetes can be a burden to the patient and his family. Aside from the physical manifestations of the disease, people my feel anger, rear or stress when diagnosed with diabetes. Since this is a chronic, lifelong condition, patients and their loved ones may suffer from physical, emotional as well as financial burden of their condition. However, there are many ways by which people can learn to cope with the disease, and these resources may be helpful: