The incidence of type 2 diabetes has been growing fast in the United States. The American Diabetes Association published the following statistics:
About five million African American adults , or 18.7 percent of the Black population over 20 years of age, have been diagnosed or are undiagnosed with diabetes. About 12 percent of the Hispanic/Latino Americans over the age of 20 years have been diagnosed with diabetes. In Hawaii, Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders age 20 years and older are more than twice likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes as Whites after adjusting for population and age differences. Nearly 27 percent of people over 65 years of age have diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk, up to 60 percent, for developing diabetes in the next 10 to 20 years.
Glucose also known as blood sugar is always present in the blood. The human body needs glucose as a source of energy, but a high level in the blood is unhealthy. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, it can result into pre-diabetes or diabetes. Glucose comes from the food we eat, especially carbohydrates and it is stored in the Liver and muscles in the form of glycogen, from where is can be released when there is not enough glucose in the blood stream. Glucose enters the cells of the body with the help of the hormone insulin. When the pancreas in the body does not make enough insulin blood glucose cannot enter the cells and the level in the blood stream increases.
Type 1 Diabetes:
In type 1 diabetes the pancreas does not make any insulin. The body's immune system attacks and destroys the Beta cells in the pancreas that normally make insulin. As a result insulin production is shut down. This type of diabetes more frequently occurs in people young that 30 years of age, with a high incidence around ages 10-12 for girls and 12-14 years of age for boys.
In this condition the blood sugar level is higher than normal but is not high enough to be considered diabetes type 2. There is an increased risk to develop type 2 diabetes in 10 years or less. Pre-diabetes can be an opportunity to prevent diabetes by combining healthy eating habits with aerobic exercise.
Diabetes type 2:
This is the most common type of diabetes. People of any age, even in childhood can develop diabetes type 2. This is a chronic disease that affects the metabolism of glucose. Diabetes type 2 often begins with insulin resistance, where the cells in the body do not allow glucose to enter. As a result the pancreas tries to make more insulin to move the glucose into the cells. Eventually the pancreas becomes overworked and gradually loses its capacity to produce insulin properly and the blood glucose continues to increase.
Some pregnant women develop gestational diabetes during the late stages of pregnancy. This type of condition usually goes away after the baby is born. Gestational diabetes is caused by the changes in hormonal status during pregnancy. There is also a risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later years.
Being diagnosed with this condition may cause quite a bit of stress in your life. At The Institute for Health Behavior Change we can help you with an integrated nutritional program to make changes in your eating and exercise habits to manage or prevent type 2 diabetes.
Ana Irizarry, B.S.