This is the second of three guest posts by Allison Schwalm, who has managed her type 1 diabetes for more than 8 years. Allison is the author of Low Snacks & Lip Gloss, a blog about the life of a twentysomething living with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 24 million Americans are currently diagnosed with diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells don’t use the insulin correctly. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches from carbohydrates into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body.
Weight control can be an issue for many people living with type 2 diabetes. In addition to being a risk factor for developing diabetes, being overweight or obese also can lead to insulin resistance, the main mechanism behind type 2 diabetes. Too much body fat makes it harder for the body to use the insulin it makes to process blood glucose. In addition, because excess blood sugar is stored by the body as fat, uncontrolled diabetes can make weight control even more difficult.
Poor eating habits can be costly. Complications from type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness and even amputation, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
It may feel overwhelming to learn about the risk factors and complications related to type 2 diabetes. The good news is that prevention is possible. Striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle – which is not limited to the physical – is the number one strategy. Including a wide variety of foods, eating regularly, being active as much as possible, maintaining a solid foundation for social and spiritual health are all essential components in this balance.
If you have real concerns about your potential risk of diabetes, speak with your physician. Working with you, your physician can review your family history, health history, order any necessary lab work, and make recommendations as needed.
For more information about diabetes, visit The American Diabetes Association, The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)and D Life.