More than 23 million people in the United States alone have diabetes, a disease that happens when the body is unable to make enough insulin or is not able to properly use insulin. Instead of moving into the cells, sugars build up in the body, which can lead to a number of serious health issues, including kidney disease, and heart disease. After being diagnosed with diabetes, patients may think that life as they know it is over. Actually, diabetics can live long, healthy lives, as long as they take their medications, exercise, eat healthy and keep their weight down. There are two main types of diabetes – juvenile diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. A third type of diabetes is known as gestational diabetes.
Juvenile Diabetes (Type 1)
In most cases, juvenile or Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed when patients are children or young adults. This is a form of diabetes that, according to the American Diabetes Association, is only seen in five to ten percent of those with diabetes. When a person has juvenile diabetes, their body is unable to produce insulin, a hormone that converts starches, sugars and more into energy. Those with juvenile diabetes usually have to take insulin therapy, and they must closely monitor their blood sugars.
Type 2 Diabetes
Of the different types of diabetes, Type 2 is the most common, with millions of people in the US having it, and many more are at a high risk for the disease. Many people do not experience any symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, so they do not even realize that they have it. Again, with Type 2 diabetes, the body is unable to produce enough insulin, and without a proper diet and health care, there can be many complications. There are certain groups of people who have more instances of Type 2 diabetes, including Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through blood glucose monitoring, a healthy diet and, in some cases, medication.
It is not uncommon for many pregnant women to develop gestational diabetes, usually in the third trimester of their pregnancy. Often, women who have gestational diabetes did not previously have diabetes, and most do not have diabetes once their babies are born. Regular blood glucose monitoring should be done to ensure that mother and baby are both healthy, with no risk of diabetes in the future, for mother or child.
Symptoms of Diabetes
There are many symptoms of diabetes, and some are so simple that they often go unnoticed, especially by those who are not at a high risk for diabetes. Those who are experiencing any of these symptoms should have tests for diabetes done by their physician. Even if they do not have the disease, it is worth it to find out for sure because the sooner the condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.
Juvenile Diabetes Symptoms – Some of the symptoms of juvenile diabetes include frequent urination, strange weight loss, extreme tiredness, irritability and unusual hunger and thirst.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms – Patients with Type 2 diabetes may experience no symptoms, or they can have any or all of the same symptoms as those with juvenile diabetes. Other symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include blurred vision, cuts and bruises that take a long time to heal, tingling or numbness in the feet and/or hands and infections that keep coming back.
Being Active Can Help You Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
It doesn’t matter whether a person has any type of diabetes. It is important for everyone to be active, which helps to keep the body healthy. Having an active lifestyle can be a terrific part of the diabetes treatment, and can even keep some people from developing Type 2 diabetes. Being active doesn’t mean that people need to go out and join a sports team or take aerobics classes every day. Being active can be as simple as going for a half hour walk each day. As part of diabetes treatment, this is certainly the simplest.
Diabetes Care Should Begin with a Healthy Diet
When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, it means that there are going to have to be a lot of changes made in their lifestyle, particularly when it comes to diets. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet doesn’t have to be boring, as many would think. In fact, there are all kinds of delicious foods that are absolutely fine for diabetic diets. Those who are diagnosed with diabetes need to learn how to eat the right foods, in the right portions. And, having diabetes does not mean that one can’t enjoy a sweet treat now and again. You just need to plan your diet accordingly, and when you do, you can add a treat. Or, try making your own sweets at home, using artificial sweetener.
Fad diets do not work, and many are actually quite unhealthy. A healthy diet will consist of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Some of the foods that are recommended for diabetic diets include whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, fish, lean meats, liquid oils, fruits, and non-fat dairy products. And, with so many delicious foods to choose from, it should be no problem at all to follow a healthy diet.
When Diet Isn’t Enough
There are times when diet alone just isn’t enough to get all of the protein and other nutrients that are needed by the body. Sometimes, diabetics need to turn to dietary supplements, which can provide many of the nutrients they need. There are three macronutrients that we all need to survive – fats, carbohydrates, and proteins – but it is not always easy to get them in the right amounts. There are many different types of dietary supplements that will provide protein and other nutrients, and which ones are best depends on the individual’s tastes and needs. Protein powders are very popular because they are so versatile and can be used to make meal replacements or added to dishes to increase the protein.