Did you know that November is Diabetes Awareness Month? It is a time set aside in the United States to bring awareness to this very common disease and to educate the public on what we can do to help ourselves and/or our loved ones deal with it. Diabetes is a devastating illness, but the good news is, it is controllable.
Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar (glucose) levels in your body are too high. About 15 million women in the United States have diabetes, or about 1 in every 9 adult women. I am a health coach who helps men and women who struggle with uncontrolled diabetes cope with the illness so they can get off medication and lead a normal life. For the remainder of this month I will be focusing on causes, risk factors, how diabetes affects your overall health, how it affects men versus women, and how you can cope with this illness.
So first, let us look at the different types of diabetes. The three main types of diabetes are:
- Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune (defense) system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin, so you must take insulin every day.
- Type 2 diabetes. This is the most common type of diabetes. You can get type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. With type 2 diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin or is not able to use its own insulin correctly. When this happens, blood glucose levels rise.
- Gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that happens only during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can cause health problems for the baby and the mother if not controlled. Although gestational diabetes goes away after your baby is born, having diabetes during pregnancy raises your risk for type 2 diabetes later on.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease caused by high levels of blood sugar (glucose) in your body. This can happen when your body does not make insulin or does not use insulin correctly.
Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, an organ near your stomach. Insulin helps the glucose from food get into your body’s cells for energy. If your body does not make enough insulin, or your body does not use the insulin correctly, the glucose stays and builds up in your blood.
Over time, this extra glucose can lead to prediabetes or diabetes. Diabetes puts you at risk for other serious and life-threatening health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney damage.
One of the ways you can fight diabetes is by incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine. Take the simple quiz on the right and see how you can do this then drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. If you are interested in learning more about diabetes or know someone who can benefit from this article, please share it with them and sign up for my newsletter where you can get more information and updates.