November 14th marks World Diabetes Day, a day to bring awareness to this chronic disease that affects 347 million people worldwide.
Every 17 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes most often occurs in children and young adults. This form of diabetes is not preventable. It occurs due to lack of insulin production. Type 1 diabetes currently makes up 5% of all cases of diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. This occurs when the body doesn’t make proper use of the insulin it produces, resulting in high blood sugar levels. Some risk factors include age, ethnicity, inactivity, tobacco use, and diet.
- Gestational diabetes can occur during a woman’s pregnancy when her body cannot make use of all the insulin it needs during pregnancy, leading to high blood sugar levels. This is not an indication that she had diabetes before pregnancy or will have diabetes after pregnancy, but it can put her child at risk for childhood obesity.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes also contributes to vision problems and even blindness if left untreated. An annual comprehensive eye exam is your best defense against blindness caused by diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the U.S. Diabetic retinopathy affects the blood vessels in the retina. Early stages of the disease have no symptoms. A dialated eye exam can help with early detection and management of the disease.
Diabetes can affect anyone, but you can reduce your risk through healthy diet and exercise. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by up to 40 %. Check if you are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes with this simple risk assessment from the American Diabetes Association.