November is National Diabetes Month and serves as a reminder to each of us that taking care of our physical health is of utmost importance. Diabetes develops when the blood glucose levels are too high in the body, which can cause fatigue, weight loss/gain, blurry vision and even death when left uncontrolled. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. While both vary in severity and symptoms, each needs to be treated so that you can live a healthy, successful life. Find out how diabetes develops, what to expect when it occurs and how to treat it with this guide!
How Diabetes Works
One of the most prolific medical conditions among Americans today is diabetes, and although it can be controlled, most diabetics find it difficult to eat and even do the same things that they used to before their diagnosis. Diabetes affects how the body uses blood sugar, called glucose, which is essential for energy production in the body’s cells. There are three forms of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational. Type 1 diabetes can occur to any person of any race and at any age. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce the insulin that it needs to function properly. Insulin is a necessary part of getting glucose from the blood and then to the cells where it can create energy that the body needs. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t use insulin properly, and it is the most common form of diabetes in the U.S. When Type 2 develops, your cells develop a resistance to insulin, causing sugar (glucose) to build up in your bloodstream. Type 1 diabetes is typically more manageable than Type 2, but both can be regulated by living certain standards. Lastly, gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women. While the cause behind this is unknown, it can still be managed. As a baby grows in utero, the placenta creates hormones that can sometimes interrupt how the mother’s insulin reacts in her body. This can create insulin resistance in the mother during pregnancy and can hurt both mother and child if not treated. Even if you experience gestational diabetes during pregnancy, that does not mean that you had diabetes before or will have it after giving birth. It is a process that affects millions of women each year and most women’s hormones and body functions will return to normal after a few months.
Signs and Symptoms
Receiving the news that you or a loved one have been diagnosed with diabetes can be shocking and unexpected. However, there are some signs that you should look out for to recognize pre-diabetes before it evolves into full-blown diabetes. Common signs of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes include frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, extreme hunger, thirst and ketones in your urine. These symptoms also occur in pregnant women when they have gestational diabetes, although most women don’t even know they have it until tested by their doctor. Any of the aforementioned signs can present themselves in children and adults, and no one is limited to just one. While the various forms of diabetes can occur in anyone at any time, there are certain instances when Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes typically appear. In most cases, Type 1 will appear during childhood or adolescence, but can develop into adulthood. Type 1 usually happens after age 40, but can develop at any age. And of course, gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy, typically during the later stages. Women who are overweight, over the age of 35 or have a genetic predisposition to gestational diabetes have a higher likelihood of developing it than other expectant mothers.
Treatment and Prevention
Even though diabetes in any of its forms is life-changing, it can be controlled. A proper diagnosis should be established before any treatment begins, so make sure to meet with your doctor if you are concerned that you may have diabetes. Treating Type 1 includes using some type of pump, shot or injection port to give yourself the necessary amounts of insulin that you need each day. Type 1 diabetics have to take insulin since their bodies don’t make it, so one of these options will be an integral part of your daily life. Type 2 diabetes is best controlled through regular exercise and a healthy diet, but some patients will need medicine, as well, to control their blood glucose. These often come in the form of pills or shots, depending on your needs. Gestational diabetes typically improves with a healthy diet and regular exercise, as well, but may need to be supplemented with diabetic medications or insulin depending upon your circumstances. These medications are safe to take during pregnancy and will be a great benefit to you and your unborn child throughout this time.
While you may not be able to prevent diabetes from occurring, there are some preventative tips that you can include in your daily life to decrease your risk of it. These include making dietary changes that eliminate refined sugars, sweeteners, processed food and sodas, along with increasing fiber in your diet. Multivitamins, fish oil, cinnamon, green tea and other herbal supplements have also been found to improve glucose levels and help metabolic regulatory processes. Before beginning any of these treatments, however, make sure to be cleared by a medical professional to ensure safety and proper usage.
Learn How To Live With Diabetes With Our Help!
At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare, we care about your overall wellness and can help you navigate your life as you acclimate to a diabetes diagnosis. Whether you’re experiencing Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes, we can help! Call our office at (970) 631-8286 to get your health back on track!