Did you know that more than 34.2 million Americans are at risk of developing diabetes? In fact, 1 in 3 Americans has prediabetes. Diabetes is often referred to as the “silent killer” because 1 in 5 people that have it don’t know that they have it.1
On March 22nd, we celebrated National Diabetes Alert Day. This is part of the movement to create awareness about the diabetes epidemic so we can work together to remove the stigma and discrimination around the disease. With greater levels of awareness, more people will be more likely to get checked and seek the help of a healthcare professional. Many people with diabetes may report feelings of fear, embarrassment, blame, guilt, and anxiety as a result of being stigmatized.2 So this month, our team at Treasure Valley Metabolic Medicine wants to focus on the facts about diabetes. This article will discuss the different types of diabetes, causes, symptoms, and ways to manage/prevent each type.
What Is Diabetes & What Are the Different Types?
When a person has diabetes, it means their blood sugar levels are too high. There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).
Type 1 Diabetes:
While Type 1 diabetes usually develops in children, teens, and young adults, it can also happen at any age. This type of diabetes occurs when your pancreas does not make insulin, which is the hormone that helps glucose ( blood sugar) get into your cells to give them energy. Without insulin, too much glucose stays in your blood. Over time, high blood glucose can lead to serious problems.
Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 and gestational diabetes. It only affects about 5-10% of people. Symptoms may include:
- Often being very thirsty
- Urinating often
- Feeling very hungry or tired
- Losing weight without trying
- Having sores that heal slowly
- Having dry, itchy skin
- Losing the feeling in your feet or having a tingling sensation in your feet
- Having blurry eyesight
There are no known causes of type 1 diabetes. It is usually the body’s own immune system, which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses, mistakenly destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, genetics, or exposure to viruses and other environmental factors.3
While there are no known ways to prevent Type 1 diabetes, it can be managed well with insulin injections. Managing Type 1 diabetes might also require frequent blood sugar monitoring, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. Education is key to learning how to manage symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.
Types 2 Diabetes:
With type 2 diabetes, not only does your pancreas not produce enough insulin, but the cells in your body respond poorly to insulin and take in less sugar than average. Type 2 diabetes is more common in older adults, but the increase in the number of children with obesity has led to more cases of younger people with type 2 diabetes. 10.5% of Americans have type 2 diabetes. It is the most common of all the different types of diabetes. Symptoms of type 2 are similar to those of Type 1.4
Type 2 diabetes is not preventable for everyone; however, making healthy life choices provides the best chance of not getting it. Ways to prevent type 2 diabetes include:
- Eliminating sugar and refined carbs
- Working out regularly and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle
- Drinking a lot of water
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Eating a high fiber diet
- Optimizing Vitamin D levels
- Taking natural herbs, such as curcumin and berberine, that increase insulin sensitivity
In the United States, 9 out of every 10 cases of diabetes can be avoided if the above lifestyle changes are implemented.5
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. Like other types of diabetes, It occurs when your body can’t make enough insulin during pregnancy. However, gestational diabetes also causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health. 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes doesn’t cause noticeable signs or symptoms; however, Increased thirst and more frequent urination are possible symptoms.
It is not always possible to prevent gestational diabetes. However, certain risk factors make it more likely that a woman will develop it during pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy weight before and after conception, eating well, and exercising regularly during pregnancy can reduce the diabetes risk.
Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes usually goes away on its own soon after delivery.6
Treasure Valley Metabolic Medicine – We Treat Diabetes Differently
At Treasure Valley Metabolic Medicine, our programs are focused on producing long-term results and optimal outcomes. Our patients receive personalized medication, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle techniques to achieve their long-term weight management goals and help them live the healthy life they desire.
In observance of National Diabetes Alert Day, we encourage everyone to discover if you or your loved ones have diabetes or are at risk of developing Diabetes.
Contact us at (208) 274-9580 today to learn more.
- National diabetes report – centers for disease control and … (2020). Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf
- Yan, K. (2022, March 1). Diabetes stigma is everywhere, but you can do something about it. diaTribe. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://diatribe.org/diabetes-stigma-everywhere-you-can-do-something-about-it#:~:text=Stigma%20and%20discrimination%20can%20lead,a%20result%20of%20being%20stigmatized.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 16). What is diabetes? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, March 27). Type 1 diabetes. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20353011
- Gavin, M. L. (Ed.). (2022, February). What is type 2 diabetes? (for teens) – Nemours kidshealth. KidsHealth. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/type2.html#:~:text=In%20type%202%20diabetes%2C%20the,to%20make%20even%20more%20insulin.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, August 10). Gestational diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html#:~:text=Gestational%20diabetes%20is%20a%20type,pregnancy%20and%20a%20healthy%20baby.