Lifestyle Choices or Genetics?
Getting the facts about diabetes
Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 19:01
According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. That’s 8.3 percent of the entire population.
As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal.”
Glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar, is vital to a person’s health because it is an important source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Not to mention, it is the brain’s main source of fuel.
When we consume food, it is turned into glucose for our bodies to use as energy. The pancreas then produces a hormone called insulin to help the glucose absorb into the cells of our bodies. When a person has diabetes, their body is either not producing enough insulin or it cannot use its own insulin as well as it should. As a result, sugar begins to build up in their blood.
When the sugar buildup becomes too much, it can cause health conditions such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and in more severe cases, lower-limb amputations.
There are three main types of diabetes – Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
According to the World Health Organization, Type 1 diabetes (otherwise known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes) is when there is a deficiency of insulin production and requires daily doses of insulin. Type 2 diabetes (otherwise known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes) occurs when the body cannot use insulin properly. Gestational diabetes on the other hand, is reversible and occurs during pregnancy.