What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious disease that occurs when you have too much sugar in your blood.
When you have diabetes, your body can’t turn all the food you eat into energy. Sugar comes from the foods we eat (bread, milk, pasta, rice, fruit and sweets). Sugar is used by the body for energy so you can play, run and exercise. Insulin is a hormone that comes from our pancreas. It helps sugar to go from the blood stream into your body’s cells so it can be used for energy.
The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. This type only affects 5 to 10 percent of people with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can’t make enough insulin, can’t use the insulin well or both. Often, children and adults who are overweight and do not exercise are more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes occurs in women who are pregnant and usually disappears once the baby is born. Having gestational diabestes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life for both the mom and baby.
What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes means your blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Although you do not yet have diabetes, if you continue your current lifestyle the chance of developing the disease is very high. Now is the time to make changes to your lifestyle and positively impact your future. Follow our 8 Healthy Habits to help prevent diabetes.
Can my child get type 2 diabetes?
Yes. A growing number of children are being diagnosed with this disease. By making healthy choices, you can help your children prevent this disease. What are healthy choices? Be active and get to a healthy weight.
How prevalent is diabetes?
The number of people with diabetes is growing in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, currently 8.3 percent of Americans have diabetes. If this current trend continues, 1 in 3 people will have diabetes by the year 2050. Seventy-nine million Americans over the age of 20 have pre-diabetes; however, less than 10 percent are aware of it.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
In the beginning there might not be any symptoms of diabetes, but eventually some of the below symptoms develop. If you are concerned about your child, don’t wait until he or she develops symptoms to get tested.
Does your child:
Go to the restroom more often
Constantly seem thirsty and/or hungry
Complain of feeling tired
Have blurry vision
Experience unexplained weight loss
Have poor wound healing
Have dark velvety skin patches (called Acanthosis Nigricans) on the neck or armpits or in the folds of the skin
Your child could be at risk if he or she:
Has a family member with diabetes
Has high blood pressure or high cholesterol
Suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome
Is of African-American, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian American decent
Why is diabetes so dangerous?
Diabetes can cause major health problems later in life, such as:
Should I get my child tested?
If your child is over the age of 9, overweight and has two other risk factors, talk to your doctor about testing. Even if your child doesn’t have any signs of diabetes, it is still important to consider getting tested. At-risk children should be retested every two years.
How do I find out if my child or I have diabetes?
Checking to see if you or your child has diabetes is simple. Your medical provider can order a test to measure the amount of glucose that is in your blood. There are a few different tests, including:
A1C – measures your average blood glucose over the last 2-3 months
Fasting glucose – measures your present glucose level after you’ve had nothing except water for the last 8 hours
Random glucose – measures present glucose at any time, even if you’ve just eaten
These tests not only help care providers determine if you have diabetes, but can also show if you have pre-diabetes.
How can I make changes?
Get involved in an eight-week LiVe Healthy Families class. Learn more by calling (877) 774-8632.
Schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian. Many insurance companies will cover preventative services for obesity. Call (877) 225-5747 for more information.