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  • HMC Staff Writer

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

One in five people in the US don't even know they have diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body controls blood sugar (or glucose), but Type 1 and Type 2 are very different diseases. Glucose is required to feed the body’s cells, and insulin allows your body to maintain glucose at a stable level in the bloodstream. Diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t use insulin properly or make enough insulin. There are several kinds of diabetes but the two main types are Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 is considered an autoimmune condition that typically affects younger individuals, but it can affect anyone of any age, race, or gender. It occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leaving the person unable to produce their own insulin. Research is still trying to determine how and why the body attacks itself in this way.

Type 2 is more common and often develops in adulthood due to lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, genetics, and obesity. In Type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin, which results in its overproduction to maintain blood glucose levels. After years of overproducing insulin, the beta cells in the pancreas stop working. People with Type 2 diabetes sometimes have very mild symptoms before diagnosis.

The common symptoms of diabetes are similar between Type 1 and Type 2:

· Urinating often

· Feeling very thirsty and very hungry (despite eating)

· Extreme fatigue

· Blurry vision

· Slow wound healing

· Weight loss (Type 1)

· Tingling, pain, or numbness in hands/feet (Type 2)

Managing diabetes involves regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, healthy diet, physical activity, and taking medications or insulin as prescribed. Diabetes can lead to severe and even life-threatening complications if blood sugar levels are not within a target range. It’s important to work closely with your healthcare team to adhere to a personalized diabetes management plan and promptly address potential complications should they arise.

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