More than 30 million Americans have diabetes and the number is growing each year.
Diabetes is a chronic disease involving the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar. The body either cannot make sufficient insulin or in some cases, it can’t process the insulin produced.
Most everyone knows someone who is affected by this disease. Here are some interesting facts about diabetes that you may not know.
1. One quarter of people who have diabetes are not aware that they have it. Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in people over 45 and the symptoms can be so subtle that it goes undetected.
2. Type 1 diabetes accounts for only about 5% of all cases. Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. It used to be called juvenile diabetes because it normally begins in childhood but can occur in adults.
3. Diabetes can damage the kidneys. Kidney disease and kidney failure are closely related to diabetes. The increase in glucose levels in the blood damage filters in the kidneys that clean your blood. Kidney disease is a leading long-term complication of diabetes and one of the leading causes of death in those who have diabetes.
4. Excess fluid and salt resulting from decreased kidney functioning can increase blood pressure too. About one third of people with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) have hypertension or high blood pressure. Insulin helps process glucose to provide fuel for cells. One side effect of diabetes is that blood vessels lose some of their flexibility from lack of proper fuel. This can cause increased blood pressure complicated and made worse by increased fluid and sodium levels.
5. One early sign of Type 2 diabetes is improved vision for those who normally require correction. Although excess fluid in the eyes may cause blurred vision, the change in the curve of the eyeball from fluid retention may mimic a corrective lens in some people.
6. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults under age 65. The most common diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when habitually high blood glucose levels eventually damage the small blood vessels leading to the retina. Damaged blood vessels can bleed into the eye and distort vision, or form permanent scar tissue.
7. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for amputations, especially of the lower limbs. This is caused by a combination of factors. Nerve damage in the feet (diabetic neuropathy) makes injuries and infections harder to notice right away. The wounds or ulcers fail to heal and can become infected, which can lead to damaged and diseased tissue requiring amputation.
8. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. If you have prediabetes, changes in diet, activity level and weight loss can reverse the progress of the disease.
9. People with diabetes can live long and complication-free lives when it is properly controlled.
Management of diabetes and other chronic conditions is something the caring providers at Intercoastal Medical Group do every day. If you live in Sarasota and Manatee Counties in Florida, find a provider at our location closest to you today. You can also request an appointment online now.