Do you or any of your family members struggle with the debilitating condition of diabetes? Whether you’re familiar or not, it’s important to understand that diabetes is a disease that can greatly alter a person’s life. This month is American Diabetes Month–it’s a great time to learn more about this disease and what ways you can help spread awareness.It’s #NationalDiabetesMonth! Do you know the differences between type 1 and type 2? Find out here! Click To Tweet
Did you know diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 diabetes patients are unaware that they have diabetes. Between health problems stemming from pregnancy to poor diet choices, Americans should be aware of the risks.
What are the differences between type 1 and type 2?
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body has a hard time producing insulin. Without insulin, your body is unable to produce the hormones needed to turn your blood sugar into energy. Instead of fighting bacteria, your immune system mistakenly fights healthy cells, which allows illnesses to develop.
In comparison, if you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t respond to insulin as well as the average body should and the glucose starts to build up in your blood. With high blood sugar levels, the disease will progress and start to affect other organs in your body.
Are you at risk for diabetes?
If you’re experiencing diabetes symptoms, licensed health professionals can assist you with these questions by giving you a physical wellness exam.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some known risk factors for type 1 diabetes include:
- Family history. Anyone with a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes has a slightly increased risk of developing the condition.
- Genetics. The presence of certain genes indicates an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
- Geography. The incidence of type 1 diabetes tends to increase as you travel away from the equator.
- Age. Although type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, it appears at two noticeable peaks. The first peak occurs in children between 4 and 7 years old, and the second is in children between 10 and 14 years old.
Listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high-risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes or prediabetes could be if you:
- Are overweight
- Are age 45 or older
- Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Are physically active less than 3 times a week
- Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
Pro Tip: Regardless of the risk factors, you should have a preventive health care plan and make healthy lifestyle choices.
Raise Awareness about Diabetes
Are you ready to join the campaign against diabetes? This national diabetes month, sign up as an attendee or volunteer for an event that raises money for medical research. If you have connections with the medical community, consider becoming an advocate to change the way our laws affect the future of diabetes research.