November is National Diabetes Month, so there are a few things that are important to know regarding the disease that affects nearly 24 million Americans today. Diabetes is a common disease that can lead to a multitude of health problems including heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, vision loss, and nerve damage. Depending on which type of diabetes one has the health risks may vary.
Type one diabetes, most commonly diagnosed in young people, occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin to convert sugar and starches into energy for a healthy daily life. Three million Americans are affected with this type of the disease today, with another 15,000 people being diagnosed each year. Although type one diabetes can be fatal, it can be easily managed through lifelong use of medication or insulin treatment.
Although there is no way to prevent having type one diabetes, it is important to look for early symptoms to manage the disease. Common symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, fatigue and rapid weight loss.
Type Two diabetes is the other classification of the disease that is most common in Americans today. With over 20 million Americans affected by this type of the disease, it is shocking to know that some people do not even realize that they are suffering from this disease. The same symptoms of type one apply to type two, but adults seem more likely to assume those problems because of their age. In the early stages of the disease it is easy for people to ignore the symptoms due to the fact that they still feel fine, but it is important to contact a doctor at the earliest sign of diabetes no matter how good a person are feeling.
Unlike type one diabetes, there are a few things you can do to help prevent type two diabetes. Even if you have a family history of diabetes, exercise and dieting can be major factors in prevention.
The first step in prevention is maintaining a healthy diet by eating the right foods. Foods that are low in fat and calories like fruits, grains, and vegetables are key. A healthy fiber intake is important for every thousand calories, because fiber helps control blood sugar level.
The next step in prevention is participating in physical activity on a regular basis. At the very least, aim for 30 minutes of moderate to heavy activity every day. Going to the gym, riding a bike, playing sports or even going for a brisk walk is all it takes.
Finally, the loss of excess weight is necessary. Losing five to ten percent of body weight can greatly reduce the risk of getting diabetes. The combination of maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can ensure being able to shave off all of the necessary weight to stay healthy.
No matter the type of diabetes, there are ways to easily manage the disease and lead a healthy life. As long as the symptoms are recognized as early as possible, the serious complications that come along with diabetes can be prevented.
For more information on affects and prevention of diabetes, contact the American Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.org.
Mark Gionta is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at MG649676@wcupa.edu.