Diabetes: Are You At Risk?

A ccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of reported cases of diabetes has risen nearly 40 % in

the past 10 years, bringing the number of Americans with the disease to 17 million. The CDC also reported that one in three U.S. children born in 2000 will eventually develop diabetes. The numbers are even worse for Hispanics, among whom 45 percent of males and 53 percent of females born in 2000 heave an increased likelihood of developing the disease.

Diabetes is a complicated disease that results from the body’s inability to produce or use insulin, a hormone that helps the body use sugar (also called glucose) for energy. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the body does not make insulin. It is sometimes called juvenile diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes occurs because the body does not have enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it has. Type 2 is more common and is linked to obesity and lack of exercise. Therefore, with the rise in obesity, Americans are increasingly at risk for developing diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputation, as well as increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Diabetes was the sixth most common cause of death in 1999. ( 5 short years ago) Early symptoms of diabetes may include the following:

         • Extreme thirst

         • Extreme hunger

         • Frequent urination

         • Sores or bruises that heal slowly

         • Dry, itchy skin

         • Unexplained weight loss

         • Blurry vision that changes from day to day

         • Unusual tiredness or drowsiness

         • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

         • Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder, or vagina] yeast infections

The early stages of diabetes have very few symptoms, so you may not know you have the disease. Damage may already be happening to your eyes, your kidneys, and your cardiovascular system even before you notice symptoms. You are at risk for having diabetes if:

         • You’re older than 45 years of age

         • You’re overweight

         • You don’t exercise regularly

         • Your parent, brother, or sister has diabetes

         • You gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds or you had

            gestational diabetes while you were pregnant

         • You’re African American, Hispanic American/Latino, Native American,

            Asian American, or Pacific Islander

Screening for diabetes is usually done with a fasting blood test. A normal blood sugar test result is below 110 mg per dL. A test result higher than 125 mg per dL suggests diabetes; however, you should have two tests that are higher than 125 mg per dL, on two different days, before a diagnosis of diabetes is made. Test results from 100 mg per dL to 125 mg per dL suggest that you have a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Many people have diabetes for about 5 years before they show symptoms. By that time, some people already have eye, kidney, gum, or nerve damage caused by diabetes. There’s no cure for diabetes, but there are ways for you to stay healthy and reduce the risk of complications. If you exercise, watch your diet, control your weight, and take any medicine your doctor may prescribe, you can make a big difference in reducing or preventing the damage that diabetes can do. The earlier you know you have diabetes, the sooner you can make these important lifestyle changes. Your family doctor can talk to you about diabetes screening and will guide treatment.

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Church of the Science of GOD, 1993
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