American National Diabetes Month

Posted on November 2, 2011

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In honor of National Diabetes Month, here is some information about what diabetes is, signs and symptoms, and things that you can do to help Diabetes awareness and research.

According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as many as 3 Million Americans have type 1 diabetes, and each year over 30,000 individuals (15,000 children & 15,000 adults) are diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S.  Diabetes comes in multiple forms; Type 1 Diabetes, or Juvenile Diabetes, is often diagnosed in children and young adults, but not always. In people with Type 1 Diabetes, the body’s immune system has caused the pancreas to stop producing insulin, which is a hormone that helps move the glucose (or sugar) into cells to produce energy. Insulin is a very important chemical in the body, and without it, the glucose gets built up in the person’s blood stream. This causes high blood sugar, which can cause long term problems, including eye, heart, kidney and nerve damage. In people with type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, or does not use the insulin it has properly. This causes the same problem of high blood sugar and not enough glucose getting into the cells. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in older people, but can also be diagnosed in children.  Some people with diabetes experience no symptoms. For others, symptoms may include:

  • being very thirsty
  • urinating often
  • feeling very hungry or tired
  • losing weight without trying
  • having sores that heal slowly
  • having dry, itchy skin
  • losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet
  • having blurry eyesight

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and about 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Taking steps to be active and eat healthy foods can help prevent you from getting type 2 diabetes. This includes being physically active, eating well and avoiding things like sugary drinks, which not only cause weight gain, but over time can cause Type 2 Diabetes. To learn more about the effects of sugary drinks on diabetes, read our note on the subject written last November.  Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have negative long term consequences, including stroke and heart attack.

     If you are local and are starting to think about shopping for the holidays, you might want to check out the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s charity gift wrap booth at the Burlington mall. The JDRF holds this fundraiser every year from the end of November to the end of December. They set up a booth at the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Massachusetts, where they provide gift wrapping for shoppers buying holiday gifts. The money raised helps fund the foundation’s research to find a cure for diabetes. For more information, you can visit their website.

 For some more information on diabetes, visit The National Library of Medicine

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