What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, that acts like a key to let glucose from the food we eat pass from the bloodstream into the cells in the body to produce energy. All carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells. Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycemia). Over the long term, high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.
3 Main Types of Diabetes | Type 1, Type 2, & Gestational Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age but occurs most frequently in children and adolescents. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body produces very little or no insulin, which means that you need daily insulin injections to maintain blood glucose levels under control. Learn more.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults and accounts for around 90% of all diabetes cases. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make good use of the insulin that it produces. The cornerstone of type 2 diabetes treatment is a healthy lifestyle, including increased physical activity and a healthy diet. However, over time most people with type 2 diabetes will require oral drugs and/or insulin to keep their blood glucose levels under control. Learn more.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a type of diabetes that consists of high blood glucose during pregnancy and is associated with complications to both mother and child. GDM usually disappears after pregnancy but women affected and their children are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Learn more.
Facts About Diabetes and How It Affects Our Community
More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.
More than 88 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and more than 84% of them don’t know they have it.
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and maybe underreported).
In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.
African Americans have a high risk for type 2 diabetes. Genetic traits, the prevalence of obesity, and insulin resistance all contribute to the risk of diabetes in the African American community. African Americans have a high rate of diabetic complications, because of poor glycaemic control and racial disparities in health care in the USA.
African Americans with diabetes may have an atypical presentation that simulates type 1 diabetes, but then their subsequent clinical course is typical of type 2 diabetes. Culturally sensitive strategies, structured disease management protocols, and the assistance of nurses, diabetic educators, and other health care professionals are effective in improving the outcome of diabetes in the African American community (PMC, 2005).
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