Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition marked by elevated blood sugar (glucose). Like a car utilizes gasoline for fuel, the body uses glucose from food as a source of energy. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin. Insulin transports glucose from the bloodstream into cells where it may be used as fuel. Here’s a quick 101 look at diabetes.
When you have diabetes, your body either produces insufficient amounts of insulin (or stops producing it completely) or uses your own insulin inefficiently. As a result, blood glucose levels rise and cells are unable to absorb glucose for use as fuel.
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A key Diabetes 101 point to understand remains the different versions of the condition that exist. In Type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes are two of the most common forms of the disease. When the immune system targets and kills the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, type-1 diabetes develops. The precise etiology of type-1 diabetes is unknown. That said, researchers believe that genes or environmental elements (such as viruses) may be to blame.
As well as lifestyle factors like being overweight, type 2 diabetes is also genetically predisposed. The good news is that type-2 diabetes can be avoided. This happens by decreasing between 5 and 10 percent of your body weight. In addition, making an effort to engage in at least 15 minutes of moderate exercise each week helps.
With prediabetes, your body may not be able to fully utilize the insulin you produce. Or, it may not produce enough insulin to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels in prediabetic individuals are higher than normal. However, not so high as to see a type-2 diabetes diagnosis.
Diabetes 101: The Stats
The National Diabetes Statistics Report provides information on the prevalence (existing cases) and incidence (new cases) of diabetes and prediabetes, risk factors for health complications from diabetes, and diabetes-related deaths and costs.
Key findings include:
- 37.3 million Americans—about 1 in 10—have diabetes.
- About 1 in 5 people with diabetes don’t know they have it.
- 96 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes.
- More than 8 in 10 adults with prediabetes don’t know they have it.
- In 2019, about 1.4 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed.
- For people aged 10 to 19 years, new cases of type-2 diabetes increased for all racial and ethnic minority groups, especially Black teens.
- For adults with diagnosed diabetes:
- 69% had high blood pressure, and 44% had high cholesterol.
- 39% had chronic kidney disease, and 12% reported having vision impairment or blindness.
- Diabetes was highest among Black and Hispanic/Latino adults, in both men and women.
Diabetes 101: The Impact
Diabetes 101 means understanding the full impact of this disease. This condition and its health problems sport serious and expensive effects. Diabetes stands as the seventh most common cause of mortality in the US. It carries $327 billion worldwide in medical expenses, lost productivity, and salaries. In actuality, the typical medical expenses for those with diabetes are more than twice as high as those for those without the disease.
Diabetes often negatively impacts your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This has a negative impact on your quality of life. Even so, there are steps you may take to control your diabetes and any related health issues. Additionally, there are steps you may do if you have prediabetes to help stop it from developing into type-2 diabetes.