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Diabetes is a group of chronic conditions that cause high levels of sugar to build up in the blood, resulting in adverse health effects such as heart, eye and kidney disease. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 86 million US adults-more than a third-have prediabetes, and 90% of them don't know it. With prediabetes on the rise, it is important to be informed and educated about this chronic disease.
Every year, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) sponsors the American Diabetes Alert Day which is observed every year on the last Tuesday of March. It’s a day that serves as a wake-up call for those who may be at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Common types of diabetes include:
Type 1 Diabetes: In Type I diabetes, is a complex genetic disease where the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Without insulin, the glucose (sugar) flowing through the blood stream is unable to enter cells and remains in the blood. This type of diabetes was formerly referred to as insulin dependent, or juvenile onset diabetes since it most commonly develops in childhood or early adolescence. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable. Five-percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.
Type 2 Diabetes: In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin, but the cells are resistant to it. Doctors refer to this as insulin resistance. The glucose remains in the blood since it is unable to enter cells. This form of diabetes is preventable and is most often seen in individuals over 45 who are overweight or lead a sedentary lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes: According to the ADA (American Diabetes Association), gestational diabetes develops in about 9.2% of women during pregnancy. Although the exact cause is unknown, it is understood that the same hormones from the placenta that help the baby develop can also block the action of the mother's insulin in her body. This is another case of insulin resistance.
Prediabetes: Prediabetes is a condition when blood sugar levels are abnormally high but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. It is an early warning sign for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), which can lead to heart attack or stroke.