If you suffer from diabetes, you’re not alone. More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, a group of diseases that hinder the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. Diabetes requires careful management to prevent more serious health problems, including heart or kidney disease.
The American Diabetes Association says more than seven million Americans with diabetes haven’t been diagnosed, perhaps because different types of diabetes have different symptoms.
At Healthy Life Family Medicine, our team of experienced providers offers diagnostic services as well as diabetic treatments to help you manage your diabetes. We’re also committed to educating you about the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
What is diabetes?
When you eat, your body converts food into sugar, the main source of energy. Sugar is carried in your blood to cells throughout your body.
When your blood sugar levels rise after eating, your pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that allows the blood sugar to enter your body’s cells to be converted into energy. If you have diabetes, your body has difficulty making or using insulin. You can end up with too much glucose in your blood, which can lead to serious medical conditions and even death.
What is Type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a type of autoimmune disorder that causes your body to stop making insulin. Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, although most patients are diagnosed with the condition as children or young adults.
Currently, there’s no cure or prevention for Type 1 diabetes. To control Type 1 diabetes, you must regularly monitor your insulin levels and take insulin to stay alive.
Researchers say that about 5% of people with diabetes are Type 1 diabetics. Type 1 diabetes symptoms include:
- Rapid, unexplained weight loss
- Increased thirst and urination (including bed-wetting)
- Extreme fatigue or weakness
- Extreme hunger
- Mood changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gut pain
- Bad breath
- Feeling itchy
If you exhibit these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.
What is Type 2 diabetes?
Most people in the U.S. who have diabetes, have Type 2 diabetes. Most people develop Type 2 diabetes as adults, although the rate of Type 2 diabetes in children and teens is rising.
When you have Type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin, but your cells can’t use it effectively. In response, your body produces more insulin. Over time, the insulin becomes less effective, and glucose builds up in your blood.
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, the onset of Type 2 diabetes is slow and symptoms can be subtle and include:
- Abnormal thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Mood swings
- Feeling more hungry than normal
- Experiencing tingling or numbness in your feet or hands
About 84 million people in the U.S.are considered pre-diabetic. They have high blood glucose levels that don’t meet the threshold of diabetes. If you’re pre-diabetic, your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes increases.
Here are some risk factors that increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes:
- Being age 45 or older
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Being a person of color
- Being obese or overweight
- Not getting enough exercise
- Having high blood pressure
- Not having ideal cholesterol levels
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome
- Being diagnosed with depression
Some people can manage their Type 2 diabetes by eating a low-carb, healthy diet, and exercising. Others might also have to take medications and insulin.
If you have diabetes and need treatment, or if you want to test your blood sugar levels, you can schedule an appointment at Healthy Life Family Medicine by calling 623-232-9194 or using our online scheduling tool.