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Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to process food into energy. The food we eat is turned into glucose for our bodies to use as energy. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin which helps the glucose get to the cells in our bodies. When there isn’t enough or any insulin, glucose stays in the blood and cannot reach the cells, causing sugars to build up in the blood.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1: This is a chronic condition in which the body does not make insulin because the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that create it. Although usually diagnosed in children, it can appear at any age. It is important that anyone with type 1 diabetes take insulin daily to keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range. According to the CDC, this type of diabetes can account for five to ten percent of all diagnosed cases.

Type 2: This is a condition in which the body does not use insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes most often occurs in adults, and is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for around 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases.

Treatment

Anyone with type 1 diabetes will need to inject themselves daily with an insulin pen or pump, as well as monitor blood glucose levels. It is important to speak in depth with your medical provider to learn how to properly manage both injections and monitoring levels.

Diet and exercise are both very crucial in managing type 1 diabetes. Balancing your insulin doses with the foods you consume and physical activity will help keep blood glucose levels stable.

In treating type 2 diabetes, diet and activity are very important, and many people can reach their target blood sugar levels by simply eating healthy and exercising. However, some people may need medication or insulin therapy. Your medical provider will be able to determine what is best for you.

Prevention

While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you are at an increased risk to develop type 2 diabetes, it is very important to take preventative measures now. A few ways to help prevent type 2 diabetes from the American Diabetes Association are exercising regularly, eating plenty of fiber and whole grains, and losing weight (if you are currently overweight).

The American Diabetes Association recommends that everyone over the age of 45 and overweight, or under 45 but overweight with a family history of diabetes should get tested for the disease.

If diabetes runs in your family or you have cause for concern, contact your medical provider or visit americanfamilycare.com to find an AFC near you. At AFC, we are committed to serving the needs of our patients with consistency, compassion, and communication.

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