One in ten US adults currently has diabetes. However, as the population ages, obesity increases and minority groups, who are more prone to the condition, expand, we could see numbers as high as one in three individuals by 2050. To call this trend alarming is an understatement. Everyone should know and understand their personal risk factors.
In the past month alone, there have been a number of people with diabetes – including type 1, type 2 as well as gestational diabetes. In addition, we are seeing an increase in the number of individuals who are considered pre-diabetic, on the cusp of developing the disease. Treatment for all aspects of the diabetes should focus on careful management in order to prevent or delay complications, such as diabetic coma, heart disease, stroke, blindness and/or kidney failure.
When we talk about diabetes, it is important for you to know that there are several types, including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in early childhood or adolescence though it can be seen in adults as well. The condition occurs when the body does not make insulin. About 10 percent of those with diabetes are diagnosed with type 1.
The more common type of diabetes, type 2, accounts for nearly 90 percent of newly diagnosed cases. With type 2, the body usually makes an insufficient amount of insulin or the insulin does not work the way it should. For many decades, type 2 diabetes was considered an older adult disease. However, in the past decade, we have seen an alarming number of young children and adolescents being diagnosed with type 2 as well as an increase in adult cases.
Type 2 diabetes is triggered by a combination of factors. In general, those at an increased risk often have a family history of diabetes, are 45 years and older, overweight or obese, have had gestational diabetes, belong to high-risk ethnic group and are physically inactive. While some factors, like family history and race, cannot be controlled, lifestyle factors such as weight, diet and activity can be controlled.
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) found that people at increased risk for diabetes could prevent or delay the onset of type2 diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through increased physical activity and a low fat, low calorie-eating plan.
Those at an increased risk should have a yearly screening. If you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms: frequent thirst, constant urination, unusual hunger, rapid weight loss and/or obvious weakness or fatigue, it is important to consult with a physician. It is imperative that each patient has a clear understanding of both the short and long term goals in order to control their diabetes and prevent long term complications.