Almost 19 million Americans are living with diabetes, and an estimated additional 7 million undiagnosed. One in every 12 Americans lives with diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
Our bodies get the energy the need to run from glucose. Glucose is used by cells and organs, and carried by the blood. In diabetics, the glucose builds up in the blood and isn’t delivered to the cells. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness or kidney failure. Also, complications from diabetes can mean patients have to have feet or legs amputated.
You should ask your doctor to test you for diabetes if you’re urinating a lot, if you’re extremely hungry or thirsty, if you have unexplained weight loss or fatigue, if you have dry skin, if you have numbness or tingling in your hands or feet or if you have wounds that heal slowly.
The most common kind of diabetes is called type 2. It is associated with physical inactivity and obesity, as well as old age, family history, and certain ethnic backgrounds. However, whatever your age and background, staying healthy and fit can help lower your risk of developing diabetes.
Treatment for diabetes entails dietary changes and blood-glucose testing. Often, people with type 2 diabetes must control glucose levels with medication, and insulin is usually given for type 1 and sometimes for type 2, to help the body use glucose and reduce blood glucose levels. Diabetic patients need to be particularly vigilant about eye and foot care.