American Diabetes Month

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November is American Diabetes Month.  Because of this, we thought that we would bring attention to the types and causes of diabetes!

Glucose and Insulin: How They Work

After we eat a meal, our body breaks down the food.  The sugar that we eat is broken down into what we call “glucose”.  The glucose is then absorbed from your stomach and goes into your bloodstream.  We then need the hormone called Insulin to take the glucose from your bloodstream and bring it to your cells for energy.  Insulin is made in your pancreas organ, which is located behind your stomach.  When your pancreas is no longer making any insulin, or not enough, the glucose will stay in your bloodstream.  This is called diabetes and can damage blood vessels and even organs if it is left untreated.

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There are 3 types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational.

  • Type 1: Common in children and young adults where their bodies can make no insulin.  According to the American Diabetes Association, 5% of those diagnosed with diabetes have this specific type and currently 1.25 million have it.
  • Type 2: Most common type of diabetes.  This is where the body does not make enough insulin.
  • Gestational: When a pregnant woman develops diabetes and is usually diagnosed around 24 weeks of pregnancy. With this type, the women do not have to be a diabetic prior to becoming pregnant, nor does it mean they will continue to be a diabetic after their baby is born.  However, it is stil important to be tested and follow doctor instructions if tested positive.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are signs/symptoms that may help early detection for Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate
  • Constantly feeling thirsty or hungry
  • Having increased fatigue that is consistent
  • Weight Loss (Type 1)
  • Blurry vision
  • Slower healing from illnesses, cuts, and scrapes
  • Experiencing numbness and/or pain in the hands/feet (Type 2)

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Diabetes Myths

When it comes to diabetes there are many myths that are easily mistaken as fact.  For instance, many believe that being overweight is the only risk factor for developing diabetes.  There are other risk factors that are considered more crucial for developing diabetes such as age, race, and family medical history.  Being overweight does increase your risk of developing diabetes, but it is not 100% guarantee.  Another myth is thinking those with diabetes should be put on some kind of diabetic diet.  Those diagnosed with diabetes should be on the same diet as those who are not diabetic.  Everyone should have a well-balanced meal plan that contains “healthy fats” (avocados, nuts, salmon), fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and grains while keeping sugar, salt and “bad fats” (fried food, processed food) at a low.

References:

American Diabetes Association

Diabetic Food List: Best and Worst Choices

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Blogger: Christina Williams, PTA

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