The numbers speak for themselves – the rise of diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. In 1958 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes was 1.5 million. By 2007, the number had quickly climbed to 17.9 million. When you considered that by the year 2050 one out of every three Americans will have diabetes, understanding the factors and seriousness of this disease becomes crucial.
The truth is there are common misconceptions out there about diabetes. Misconceptions that could very well put the lives of millions of people at risk. Let’s take a look at the facts.Fact #1: All forms of diabetes are serious.
People often believe type-2 diabetes is a mild form of diabetes and isn’t as threatening as type-1 diabetes. In actuality, they’re both serious and can cause devastating complications. These are lifelong conditions and require careful management to make sure they don’t pave the way for even more serious diseases.Fact #2: A healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes (or reverse it).
While some risks factors can’t be prevented, such as family history, age, and nationality, there are other factors that can be controlled. The most common contributor is being overweight and a large waistline. A healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and getting active will help manage your weight and greatly reduce your risk.
If any of you are fans of the television reality show, “The Biggest Loser,” you’ve seen how taking steps to eat healthy and reduce your weight can produce dramatic results when it comes to diabetes. This season’s contestant, Frado, was able to eliminate all of his diabetes medications entirely.
Fact #3: Diabetes can cause kidney disease, heart disease, strokes, blindness and amputations if not properly controlled.
This range of complications is usually the result of poor management. Taking prescribed medicines, monitoring blood sugar levels, and making sure you keep your appointments with your doctor are all part of good management. Fact #4: Type-1 diabetes cannot be prevented.
Type-1 diabetes happens when the body cannot manufacture insulin. People with type-1 diabetes are aware that insulin injections are a necessary part of life for as long as they live. Fact #5: 57 million adults have prediabetes.
Prediabetes is a condition that is often a precursor to frank diabetes. In this condition, the blood glucose levels are higher than the normal range but they haven’t reached the point of full-blown diabetes.
Obviously, once you have prediabetes the progression becomes easier. But research shows that losing weight and ramping up physical activity can not only lower your glucose level, it will prevent or delay the progression to full diabetes.
It’s possible to go 10 years with diabetes and not even know you have it. By this time, the damage to vital organs has already begun. That’s why it’s so important to get yearly checkups and get your glucose levels checked. By taking proper care of yourself, you can help make sure you don’t become one of the rising numbers of people struggling with this disease.