You are here:
Home | Health | Article 53

Diabetes - A National Epidemic
The American Dietetic Association

Diabetes has become an epidemic, affecting about 17 million Americans. Yet about six million of them don't know they have diabetes. The number of people who develop diabetes grows by a million per year.

Diabetes can have serious, even life-threatening, effects on health, if it is not managed properly. Heart disease, eye problems including blindness, circulatory problems, nerve disease and kidney disease and failure are among the many health conditions related to diabetes. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, leg and foot amputations and kidney disease and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes affects the way the body uses energy in food. People who have diabetes have trouble controlling their blood sugar, or blood glucose, levels. With diabetes, the body doesn't produce enough insulin or can't use it properly, and as a result, the body cannot use energy nutrients -- carbohydrates, protein and fat -- in their usual way. Glucose accumulates in blood, causing blood sugar levels to rise. Rather than being used for energy, blood sugar passes out of the body through urine. That makes extra work for the kidneys, causing frequent urination and excessive thirst.

Symptoms of diabetes

Common symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, increased thirst, increased urination, infections and cuts that don't heal, blurred vision, hunger and weight loss.

Testing for diabetes

Diabetes is often detected by a urine test, given as a routine part of most physical exams. If test results are positive, blood glucose readings are taken to measure blood sugar levels. However, everyone age 45 and over should have a blood glucose test every three years.

If you have diabetes...

* Manage your diet. Make sure to eat a variety of foods and watch portion sizes. A dietetics professional can help plan what's right for you replica handbags online.

* Check your clock. Keeping your blood sugar at a steady level means you need to make regular "refueling" stops. Skipping meals or eating at different times each day can make it difficult to keep your blood sugar level under control.

* Get physically active. Regular physical activity is an important part of managing diabetes. It helps your body transport glucose to body cells and will make weight management easier. Physical activity can also help lower your blood sugar level and help reduce your risk for heart disease, which is linked to diabetes.

* Control your weight. If you're overweight, try to lose. Being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes. If you trim even a few pounds, your blood sugar levels may be easier to control. If you achieve and maintain your healthy weight, non-insulin-dependent diabetes might stay under control.


Health Reference

Search Health Directory

Past Articles

Health & Nutrition Tips

Health Links