By Carolina Boyd, Communications Associate
The month of April has been designated Defeat Diabetes Month. This year, with most of us focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to remember how dangerous diabetes can be. In fact, chronic conditions like diabetes, can make people more vulnerable to infections, leading to serious consequences.
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes. Many don’t even realize they have the disease. Diabetes means there is too much sugar (or glucose) in your blood. This happens when your body doesn’t produce enough of a hormone called insulin or it doesn’t respond well to insulin. If you have diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar, exercise, and watching what you eat can all help you manage your disease long-term.
The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in childhood and is the most common type of diabetes in children and teens. Those with type 1 are not able to produce insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows your body to utilize carbohydrates for energy.
Patients with type 2 diabetes produce insulin in their bodies but are unable to use it effectively. Over time they become more and more insulin resistant and their pancreas produces less of the hormone. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and eating a nutritious diet. Due to the growing obesity program in the US, younger people are increasingly being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a form of the disease that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use glucose. It causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy as well as your baby’s health.
There is a condition called prediabetes which means you have more glucose in your blood than normal, but not enough to be considered a diabetic. People with prediabetes have a greater chance of getting diabetes. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health issues like: heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye and foot problems, dental disease, and nerve damage.
Currently, there is no cure for diabetes and managing it can be a challenge. That’s why Legacy Community Health provides patients with the guidance, support and the help they need to better control their diabetes.
Legacy has a diabetes health care team which includes: endocrinologists, primary care physicians, pharmacists, registered dietitians, as well as patient educators who teach diabetes management classes.
To learn how Legacy can help you manage your diabetes visit our website or call 832-548-5000 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Photo courtesy of PhotoMIX, Ltd. from Pexels