Over 18 million people in the United States, or 6 percent of the population, have diabetes. While an estimated 13 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.2 million people (or nearly one-third) are unaware that they have the disease. (American Diabetes Association)
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is necessary to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of the disease is not known exactly, except that genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.
There are two major types of diabetes:
- Type 1. An autoimmune disease in which the body does not produce any insulin, most often occurring in children and young adults. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay alive. Type 1 diabetes accounts for five to 10 percent of all cases.
- Type 2. A metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough, or properly use, insulin. It is the most common form of the disease. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is nearing epidemic proportions, due to an increased number of older Americans, and a greater prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
Diabetes is sometimes called the "silent killer" because the signs of the disease are not always dramatic. They may not even be noticeable. In fact, the American Diabetes Association estimates that millions of Americans have type 2 diabetes and are not even aware of it.
If you notice any of the symptoms below, you should see your doctor to get tested. Lab tests can confirm a diagnosis.
Symptoms of Diabetes
- Excessive urination
- Constant thirst
- Unusual weight loss
- Feeling weak or tired
- Blurred vision
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
- Frequent and recurring infections such as urinary tract infections, boils and fungus
- Difficulty with erections in men, and unusual vaginal dryness in women
- Extreme hunger
- Feeling nauseated and vomiting
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
American Diabetes Association -- Excellent resource for information about the disease, risk factors, research and community support.
American Diabetes Association Parents and Kids Section -- Useful information for teens and parents.