Friday, November 18, 2011

November: Diabetes Awareness Month

 By Karen Whittier, Embrace Activism

November is the Awareness Month for Diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops when the body’s not able to produce enough insulin and/or is ineffectual in its use of insulin. Insulin is a hormone the body creates to change the foods we eat into energy for the body’s use. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 often referred as Juvenile Diabetes occurs when the body’s own immune system destroys insulin producing cells. Those with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily. In Type 2 diabetes, individuals are insulin resistant; their bodies do not make enough insulin or the insulin is ineffective in transferring sugar in the blood into the body’s cells where it’s needed. High blood sugar levels can cause serious damage to the body.  Diabetics must track their blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as Adult-Onset Diabetes, but now it is not uncommon for children and youth to develop Type 2 diabetes. One of the main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes is obesity. In 1963 only 4% of children and youth (6-19yrs of age) were classified as obese. By 2000 that number had jumped to 15% with the trend still on the rise. Besides obesity, other possible reasons for the increase in Type 2 diabetes include a low level of physical activity and exposure to diabetes in the womb.  Signs and symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are:
Type 1 Diabetes
· Frequent urination
· Unusual thirst
· Extreme hunger
· Unusual weight loss
· Extreme fatigue and Irritability

Type 2 Diabetes*
· Any of the Type 1 symptoms
· Frequent infections
· Blurred vision
· Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
· Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
· Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
*Often people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms

The costs of Type 2 diabetes are staggering affecting quality of life and lifespan on an individual basis plus placing a huge demand on public health programs as well as impacting worker productivity. Awareness and early detection are key for breast cancer. Awareness and early detection of diabetes is important to get started on treatment and reduce the risk of developing complications from diabetes. Embrace Activism is all about PREVENTION; maintaining a healthy weight eating nutritious foods and exercising your body actively, minimum 30 min/day, 5x/week for adults and a minimum 60 min/day, 5x/week for children and youth are two lifestyle choices in your control that can prevent or at least delay Type 2 diabetes.  

Empower yourself!
Health, Wellness & CURES!!

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