What is Diabetes?
- Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both.
- There are three main types of Diabetes:
- Type 1, was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes. Most commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, develops when the body’s immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, the only cells in the body that make the hormone insulin that regulates blood glucose. People with type 1 diabetes must have insulin delivered by injection or a pump.
- Type 2, was previously called non–insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, usually begins as insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce it.
- Gestational diabetes is a form of glucose intolerance diagnosed during pregnancy. During pregnancy, gestational diabetes requires treatment to normalize maternal blood glucose levels to avoid complications in the infant.
- Prediabetes also exists, a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- The disease can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and may even lead to lower-extremity amputations.
How prevalent is Diabetes?
- Diabetes affects nearly 34.2 million people in the United States (10.5% of the population)
- 26.9 million people have been diagnosed.
- Approximately 7.3 million people are unaware they have the disease (2.8% of the population).
- Another estimated 88 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts people at increased risk for diabetes.
- Diabetes has seen increases in both men and women and in all age groups, but still disproportionately affects the elderly with 26.8% percent of the population 65 years and older diagnosed with diabetes in 2018.
- About 210,000 people younger than 20 years have diabetes (type 1 or type 2) in 2018.
- Diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, with the rate of diagnosed diabetes highest among Americans Indians and Alaska Natives (14.7%), people of Hispanic origin (12.5%), and non-Hispanic blacks (11.7%), followed by non-Hispanic Asians (9.2%) and non-Hispanic whites (7.5%).
- Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., though it is likely to be underreported as a cause of death. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people of similar age but without diabetes.
Is Diabetes treatable?
- People with diabetes, their support network, and their health care providers can lower the occurrence of diabetes complications by controlling the levels of blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipids, and by receiving other preventive care practices in a timely manner. Diet, insulin, and oral medication to lower blood glucose levels are the foundation of diabetes treatment and management. Patient education and self-care practices are also important aspects of this disease’s management that help people with diabetes live normal lives.
- Self-management education or training is a key step in improving health outcomes and quality of life. Self-care behaviors, such as healthy eating, being active, and monitoring blood sugar, in combination with the appropriate medical treatment may help people with or at risk for diabetes improve their lifestyle and manage the disease.
- For those with prediabetes, losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay diabetes and return blood glucose levels to normal.
Source – Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report