Nearly 18 million Americans have diabetes, but 5.7 million have the disease and don’t even know it. Could you be one of them?
Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism that affects the way the body uses digested food for growth and energy. If you have diabetes, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin – a hormone we all need to convert sugar, starches and other foods.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Over the long-term, not adequately treated, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves, and other tissues or organs.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, which causes a malfunction in the way the body uses food for energy. Either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin causing glucose to build up in the blood. High blood sugar levels over a long period of time can damage vital organs including kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
Are you at risk?
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include:
- Physical inactivity
- Family history of diabetes
- History of diabetes during pregnancy
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Age, race, gender
The key to prevention
The good news is you can help prevent or reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle including increasing your level of physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and changing your diet.
According to American Diabetes Association, you should eat more fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, buy leaner meats (such as chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of pork), choose low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and cut back on high calorie snack foods, desserts and sodas.
Central Florida Regional Hospital offers a diabetes program with both inpatient and outpatient education to help you take control of diabetes.