Many of us know someone that struggles with the daily battle that is diabetes. The entire month of November is for bringing awareness to the various types of diabetes, the misconceptions behind the various types, and what can be done to help or prevent diabetes if possible. Diabetes shouldn’t have awareness only one time out of the year. Education about this health issue should be an ongoing effort and November is a start to this effort.

All About Diabetes

Diabetes in general is a metabolic disease that causes blood sugar levels to be abnormally high. Insulin is naturally produced by humans as a way for sugar to be pushed from the blood to the cells in order to produce energy. Diabetes works against insulin either being properly used by the body, or for the body to not produce enough insulin to be effective. The damage diabetes can cause is widespread throughout the body. If left untreated, it can eventually cause major organ damage. The eyes, kidneys, and nerves are the often the first and most notably damaged portions of the body.

Types of Diabetes

The most commonly known types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2. However, there is also gestational diabetes and prediabetes. Each one is different, although they lead to the same issues.

Prediabetes – This is when a person’s blood sugar is a little high, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. Steps will be taken to improve the patient’s blood sugar levels in order for them to repair the damage and hopefully avoid diabetes in the future.

Gestational Diabetes – This is something only pregnant women experience as their placenta produces insulin-blocking hormones, causing abnormal blood sugar levels. Most women don’t notice symptoms and will only find out from a glucose test routinely given around 24+ weeks. Gestational diabetes commonly goes away shortly after giving birth. However, the CDC states that around half of the women diagnosed with gestational diabetes will end up with type 2 diabetes down the road.

Type 1 Diabetes – This type of diabetes is considered an autoimmune disorder which occurs in about 10% of those diagnosed with the disease. The immune system attacks the pancreas where insulin is made. This type of diabetes can’t be caused by unhealthy life habits. It is said that genes and viruses can be the cause of this type of diabetes, but little is known about it and it’s often seen as the type of diabetes someone is “born with.”

Type 2 Diabetes – This type of diabetes is when sugar builds up in the blood and begins becoming resistant to insulin. Genes can often play a role in this type of diabetes as well. However, unhealthy lifestyle choices or obesity is the more popular cause of this type of diabetes.

Symptoms

In general, diabetes causes tiredness, blurry vision, extreme thirst/hunger, slow to heal sores, weight loss, and more frequent urination. However, each type of diabetes may have additional symptoms, although not many. Men and women are affected a little differently when it comes to diabetes, and may experience varying symptoms. Men can experience decreased labido, ED, and lessening muscle capacity. Women may experience yeast infections, dry/itchy skin, and UTIs.

When it comes to helping bring awareness for diabetes, the best first step is educating yourself. Then, help educate those around you. Learning the various types of diabetes, preventative steps, as well as steps to take if someone is having a blood sugar level crisis is more helpful than anything. Spread this knowledge and help make November a success in the case for diabetes.