Diabetes is no longer a word we rarely hear. In fact, we hear it quite frequently. Who knows what diabetes is? Did you know there are three different types of diabetes?

 

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes, yet two factors are important in both. You inherit a predisposition to the disease then something in your environment triggers it.

 

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Only 5 percent of people have this form of diabetes. The body does not produce the hormone insulin, which helps guide the glucose through the bloodstream into our cells to create energy.

 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Your body does not use insulin properly. Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active.

 

Gestational diabetes usually occurs around the 24th week of pregnancy. It starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Again, some people can control or prevent this with healthy eating and being active.

 

Some symptoms to watch out for are frequent urination, feeling very thirsty, feeling very hungry, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, wounds slow to heal, weight loss, tingling/pain/numbness in hands/feet.

 

To be diagnosed, lab work can test your average blood glucose, also known as A1C, for the past 2-3 months. Your fasting blood glucose levels may also be checked.

 

Whether you have diabetes or not, it is important to consume whole grains, fruits, veggies, protein and dairy products. Decrease added sugars, fats, fried foods and processed foods. Plus being active will help slow the process or prevent certain types of diabetes.

 

In addition, people with diabetes are at a significant risk for serious complications, especially kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, blindness and lower-limb amputations. Lifestyle changes, including healthy food choices, weight loss and exercise along with medication, can often reduce the risk of and delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

 

Moral of the story, do not believe in the full power of medication. You need to make lifestyle changes to have a significant impact on slowing the process or preventing diabetes.

 

Submitted by: Megan Swenson, Certified Wellness Coach at St. Croix Regional Medical Center

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