Health Program

 Diabetes

Definition


Type 1 diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar.


Cause


The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.


Risk Factors


  • Family history of diabetes

  • Low activity level

  • Poor diet

  • Excess body weight

  • Age over 45 years

  • High blood pressure

  • High levels of triglycerides

  • Impaired glucose tolerance


Risk Groups


  • Diabetes during pregnancy or baby weighing more than 9 pounds

  • Certain ethnicities: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans


Treatment


The treatment for diabetes is simple. If you are overweight or obese it is important to lose weight. Make some changes to your diet. Eat a constant high fiber, low saturated fat, and little concentrated sweets in your diet. Try eating the same number of calories around the same time of day every day. Limit alcohol use and smoking. Exercise at least twenty minutes a day. Insulin injections are also sometime necessary to help your body metabolize the sugar you take in. When diabetes has damaged the kidneys so much where they are not able to function anymore, a patient might need a kidney transplant.


For immediate treatment of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), take half a cup of fruit juice or 5 to 6 pieces of a hard candy. For immediate treatment of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) exercise is helpful only if the urine doesn’t have ketones. Also cutting down the amount of food you eat will also make your blood sugar go down.


Prevention


To prevent diabetes make changes to your everyday diet. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables that are non-starchy. Eat a lot of whole grain foods. Include beans in your diet. Eat fish 2-3 times week. Only eat lean meats. Eat/drink non-fat dairy products. Drink only water and calorie free drinks. Use liquid oils to cook. Cut back on high calorie snack foods. Portion your food. Finally, you need to exercise.


Statistics


  • There are 20.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 7% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 14.6 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 6.2 million people (or nearly one-third) are unaware that they have the disease

  • 1 in every 400 – 600 children has type 1 diabetes

  • 2 million overweight children between the ages of 12-19 have diabetes

  • 10.5 % of all men age 20 and over have diabetes and a third of them don’t know it

  • 8.8% of all women over 20 have diabetes and a third don’t know it

  • Hispanic/Latino Americans are 1.7 times as likely to have diabetes