When it comes to indulging in food, sugar is probably one of the most popular ingredients we seek on a daily basis. These days, the amount of sugar in various products we eat has risen to alarming levels. Chocolates and sweets, cakes, and soda are just a few of the items on our ‘can’t live without’ list. The amount of sugar present in products such as these are playing a huge part in causing diabetes for both children and adults.
Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose (also known as your blood sugar) levels are too high. While one wouldn’t think something like sugar could cause much harm, it has sadly been the cause of suffering and death for millions globally. So, how do we get diabetes, and how does it really affect our bodies? Glucose comes from the foods you eat, while insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to convert to more energy. You may be familiar with children becoming hyper after having too much chocolate or even yourself having a sudden rush of energy after devouring something sweet. This is the effect of glucose and insulin at work.
To understand diabetes properly, one must understand the two different types of diabetes. According to Medline Plus, those with type 1 diabetes lack insulin, or their bodies cannot produce the hormone needed to help distribute the glucose. This type of diabetes can develop at any age but typically appears during childhood or adolescence. With type 2 diabetes, which is more common, your body does not use insulin well. This means the hormone is present in your body but isn’t functioning how it should be. Type 2 diabetes can also develop at any age; however, it is more common in people older than 40.
Because of the lack of insulin, the glucose stays in your blood, making your blood sugar level high, which can then cause you to have diabetes. There is also a stage called prediabetes: your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. However, those that are suffering from prediabetes have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes if the amount of sugar intake isn’t controlled.
With too much glucose present in your blood, a whole range of serious problem can arise. Damage to your eyes, kidneys, and nerves are frequent issues people suffer. Heart disease, strokes, and the need to remove a limb are also possible problems one with diabetes could face. While each person’s level of glucose varies, and each situation is different, more and more people are becoming victims of diabetes with rates increasing over the last few years.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says an estimated total of 30.3 million people have diabetes in the U.S. That’s 9.4 percent of the overall U.S population. While only 23.1 million of the above have officially been diagnosed, there is still another estimated 84.1 million adults, aged 18 or older, with prediabetes. While prediabetes doesn’t mean you officially have diabetes, it means you are borderline and could easily become part of that large diabetes-bearing population. More than 23 million adults aged 65 or older are on the fence to becoming another diabetes patient. That being so, diabetes is a major problem for adults and those that are ageing.
If you are concerned you may have diabetes, then there are a list of symptoms to look out for. Most patients that test positive for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes have experienced at least one or more of the following:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infection.
Blood tests will determine whether you have diabetes and what type it is. The same sort of test can also show if you are suffering from prediabetes. If you are diagnosed with diabetes you may be prescribed medication and recommended various activities such as proper exercise and sticking to a strict meal plan. While each case is different, constant checks of your sugar level is a must, with most people investing in home kits to check their sugar level on a daily basis.
For those that aren’t familiar with diabetes, we highly recommend investing a few hours researching and studying diabetes. While the disease is most common in adults, children can also suffer from it, especially when there is a history of family diabetes. If in doubt, request to see your local health provider. Diagnosing diabetes early is one of the best ways to keep the disease under control, and to prevent more serious complications from arising.
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