Understanding Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month, and though this disease is very common amongst Americans there are still many people who do not fully understand what diabetes is, its affects and how you can prevent it.

Diabetes occurs when your glucose (blood sugar) levels are too high, which is a result of your body’s insulin being unable to break down glucose. Insulin, is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose in your blood. So, what we can gather from this is that our body needs blood sugar but it has to be regulated properly by insulin, or else our blood sugar will rise. A constant state of increased blood sugar is diabetes.

There are two forms of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an immune system malfunction where instead of fighting infection it attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 2 is where your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use the insulin well (insulin resistance). Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of this disease with a staggering 95% of people with diabetes having type 2. Type 1 diabetes making up the other 5%, has a genetic component to it, whereas type 2 can be more of a self-inflicted disease from lack of exercise, poor diet or obesity.

In 2017, the National Diabetes Statistics report stated that 30.3 million Americans were living with diabetes, which bottom lines to almost 10% of the country. Then, in another overwhelming statistic, 85 million Americans have prediabetes, which if not treated can lead to Type 2 within a 5 year time frame.

So how can we prevent or put ourselves in the best position possible to avoid this disease? Diabetes is closely related to obesity, the more fat a person stores in their body the greater degree of inflammation occurs. This inflammation makes it very difficult for insulin to operate properly. However, some people struggle with weight and losing it. Which makes practices such as healthier eating, consistent exercise, and drinking water, imperative to preventing or managing diabetes.

The more we understand about our body and how it functions as it relates to these issues the better prepared we will be to fight against diseases such as diabetes, and how we do that is through regular check-ups and physicals where physicians can help you better understand what is going on with your body and provide you with the proper treatment.

Hamilton Community Health Network has diabetes specialists who are thorough, informed and ready to help you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding this matter. If you would like more information on the services Hamilton provides regarding diabetes and what options you have, call 810-406-4246, or visit us online at Hamiltonchn.org.