Waushara County Health News

What is Diabetes?

With diabetes on the rise, understanding of the disease has increased but some gaps remain. Knowing the causes and effects of a disease are important for prevention and management of the disease. 

Diabetes in adults is known as Type 2 diabetes – the cause is resistance to insulin, which occurs gradually over months and years and typically occurs in adulthood. Insulin is a hormone that breaks down the sugars that we eat. 

Diabetes can also occur in children but this is usually Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is preventable, while Type 1 is not. 

There are many causes and risk factors for diabetes. Lifestyle factors that can cause the disease include obesity, inactivity, poor diet, and stress. A diet high in sugars and fats causes the body to produce more insulin. Over time, this leads the body to stop responding to insulin. 

Obesity and stress can also contribute since stressed and overweight bodies are more prone to many diseases. Having a healthy diet and exercising often are the most important steps to prevent diabetes. 

For those who already have the disease, managing diabetes is similar to prevention by keeping active and having a healthy weight. Diet restrictions may be required. Blood sugar levels will need to be monitored.  

Interestingly, Type 2 diabetes can be reversible if it is detected in its early stages. Knowing the symptoms of diabetes can help detect the disease sooner. The most common symptoms are increased urination and increased hunger and thirst. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes causes 75,000 deaths in the United States each year. Taking steps to address any causes of diabetes in your life can certainly help prevent diabetes. As an added benefit, these actions also protect against many other chronic diseases that are on the rise in our country.