Diabetes 101 For World Diabetes Day
November 14, 2012

Diabetes Is A Chronic Disease, But It Can Be Managed

Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

What is diabetes?

According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes is a chronic issue where an individual has higher than normal levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes can be due to limited amounts of insulin, a resistance to insulin, or both. Produced by the body´s pancreas, insulin is a hormone that helps control the blood sugar.

As well, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes the effect of diabetes on the body. When food is consumed, it is turned into sugar, otherwise known as glucose, and the body uses this for energy. When the body has diabetes, it either cannot make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin correctly. As a result, there is a build-up of sugar in the blood. Diabetes can lead to serious health issues such as blindness, heart disease and kidney failure.

There are different symptoms of diabetes. A few symptoms include excessive thirst, extreme hunger, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, extremely dry skin, sores that do not heal quickly, sudden vision changes and more infections than normal. Along with these symptoms, there may also be nausea, stomach pains or vomiting. Those who believe that they have diabetes should consult with a physician.

How can I prevent diabetes?

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are various forms of diabetes. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, healthy lifestyle choices can treat prediabetes as well as prevent type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Healthy lifestyle choices including choosing to consume foods that are low in calories and fat, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as increasing consumption of whole-grain foods that can be found in items like oatmeal and whole grain rice. Limit foods high in sugar like sodas, tea or coffee sweetened with sugar, and fruit-flavored drinks.

Furthermore, it is recommended that people incorporate 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on five or more days of the week, with activities like walking, riding a bike, or swimming. For those who are overweight or obese, physical activity and healthier food choices can help lose the extra body weight. Even losing five percent of body weight can help decrease the risk of developing diabetes. Losing weight has numerous benefits, such as increasing energy, boosting self-esteem and making the heart become healthier.

Where can I find support?

Diagnosis of diabetes or diabetes management can be overwhelming at times. If these situations arise, the Mayo Clinic recommends that it´s best to speak to someone about these kinds of issues. A doctor can recommend a mental health professional or the name of a local support group. Sharing positive and negative experiences can be beneficial as well as connect individuals with others who may be suffering from the disease.

For more information on diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association online. The organization is focused on fighting against diabetes and fighting for those who suffer from the disease. Their interests include research to cure, manage and prevent diabetes; services and a voice to different communities; as well as information on this debilitating illness.