On the Rise Worldwide

Diabetes, once a relatively rare disease, is on the rise worldwide, with an alarming number of new cases occurring in children and adolescents.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that some 29.1 million Americans – adults as well as children – now have diabetes. One out of every three people with diabetes is unaware they have this chronic condition, so it is very important to be screened for it.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 (which usually begins in early childhood)
  • Type 2 (which has a later onset)
  • Gestational Diabetes (which occurs during or immediately following pregnancy)

The most common type of diabetes is Type 2 – often triggered by poor diet and lack of exercise, which means it is a highly preventable form of the disease.

People with Type 2 diabetes have trouble processing a hormone called insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot process sugar. The result is a blood sugar level that is unhealthy, and this can eventually lead to serious complications including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and blindness.

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores
  • Frequent infections

If you notice any of these symptoms, especially in combination, talk with your doctor or healthcare provider. A simple blood test is all that’s needed to diagnose Type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Obesity
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • A family history of diabetes
  • A history of gestational diabetes
  • Certain ethnic backgrounds
  • Being age 45 and older

Healthy lifestyle choices can significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes such as:

  • Choosing foods that are low in fat and calories
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight