What is Diabetes?

 

What's the big deal about diabetes?

Diabetes now affects 20 million Americans. Did you know that Native Americans have the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world?

Even though there is no cure, diabetes can be managed and complications can be prevented. The RSBCIHI Diabetes Program provides a variety of services to meet the needs of the Native American community.

Which type are you?

Type 1: Insulin deficiency: Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune disease that attacks the beta cells in the pancreas that would normally produce insulin. Without insulin, the body’s cells cannot use the glucose, leaving blood sugars high. Type 1 occurs most often in children and young adults. People must take daily insulin injections to stay alive.Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 to 10% of all cases of diabetes.

Type 2: Insulin resistance or decreased insulin sensitivity: Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from either 1) the pancreas’ inability to make enough insulin, or 2) your cells’ inability to properly use insulin. In other words, your cell membranes become resistant to insulin (insulin resistance). This can be caused or exacerbated by obesity.

The onset of type 2 is gradual, typically occurring in adults over the age of 30; however, there is an increasing incidence in young adults and children.

Gestational and "Other" Diabetes: Diabetes develops in 2 to 5% of all pregnancies but usually disappears when a pregnancy is over. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Other specific types of diabetes result from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses.

Pre-diabetes? In pre-diabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be characterized as diabetes. However, many people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Pre-diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, people with pre-diabetes can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

Whole-istic Health Care

Make it a priority to take good care of your body. The time you spend now on eye care, foot care and skin care, as well as your heart health and oral health, could delay or prevent the onset of dangerous diabetes complications later in life. In addition, one of the best things you can do for your body is to stop smoking.

Heart Disease and Stroke

People with diabetes have extra reason to be mindful of heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes carries an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and complications related to poor circulation.

Skin Care

As many as one-third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some time in their lives. In fact, such problems are sometimes the first sign that a person has diabetes. Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early.

Foot Care

People with diabetes can develop many different foot problems. Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve damage in the feet or when blood flow is poor. Learn how to protect your feet by following some basic guidelines.

Eye Care

Diabetes can cause eye problems and may lead to blindness. People with diabetes do have a higher risk of blindness than people without diabetes. Early detection and treatment of eye problems can save your sight.

Oral Health & Hygiene

If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk for gum disease and other mouth-related problems. Learn more about maintaining good dental health.

Smoking

Kicking the smoking habit is hard, but worth the work. Tobacco has many bad health effects, particularly for people with diabetes. No matter how long you've smoked, your health will improve when you quit.

Alcohol

Alcohol is everywhere: at family gatherings, at cookouts, after the company softball game, and at parties. One very common question is "What would you like to drink?" If you have diabetes, what do you say?

Stress

Stress results when something causes your body to behave as if it were under attack. Sources of stress can be physical, like injury or illness. Or they can be mental, like problems in your marriage, job, health, or finances.

  
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