Diabetes: The Unwanted Relative

girl with diabetesIs “diabetes” ever mentioned at your family get togethers? Though it’s not an actual relative, it hits home for many families. Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in our country. In fact, 1.9 million Americans will hear “You have diabetes” this year. Even if a close family member is one of those 1.9 million, the disease could be close to you as well.

How does it happen?
Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong disease caused by an increase of sugar (glucose) in the blood stream. One of the functions of your pancreas is to produce a hormone called insulin which helps control your sugar levels.

There are three types of diabetes, and narrowing down the type you’re dealing with can help you combat it.

Type 1
If your pancreas can’t make enough insulin (or any at all) to control your sugar levels, then you may have Type 1 Diabetes. It’s usually diagnosed in childhood but can be found later on in life. Daily insulin injections are needed to control glucose levels for Type 1.

Type 2
This is the most common type of diabetes and it usually occurs in adulthood. In Type 2 the pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose normal or your body doesn’t respond well enough to the insulin it’s making. Being overweight and not getting enough exercise is one of the major causes of Type 2 and it is increasing at an alarming rate in the USA. Type 2 develops slowly and some people will have no symptoms (listed below) at all.

Gestational Diabetes (Type 3)
With this type of diabetes, increased blood glucose can develop at anytime during pregnancy. Women who develop this type are at increased risk for Type 2 and cardiovascular disease later in life. The good news is that having gestational diabetes does not mean that you had diabetes before pregnancy or that it will continue after you give birth. But, of course, it’s still important to see a physician.

You have a higher risk for diabetes if you

  • are over the age of 45
  • have a family member with diabetes
  • have heart disease
  • have increased cholesterol
  • are obese
  • do minimal to no exercise

Check with your doctor if you’re having symptoms such as

  • blurred vision
  • fatigue
  • hunger
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • unexplained weight loss

If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to speak with your physician. He or she might refer you for lab work and if so, we’d love to take care of you here at ProHealth. Our prices are consistently lower than others’ in the area and with five locations in Pensacola, Santa Rosa Beach, Ft. Walton, Crestview, or Milton, there should be an office near you.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association offers an abundance of information, advice, and support, catering to your local, individual needs.