Diabetes is prevalent in America. According to the CDC, 23.1 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. in 2015, and an estimated 7.2 million cases went undiagnosed. In that same year, 84.1 million adults (aged 18 and older) had symptoms of prediabetes.
A 2014 study conducted by Sanofi stated that millennials were less likely to think of diabetes as a serious disease than older generations. Diabetes IS a serious condition. In the worst cases, diabetes can cause or lead to blindness, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, amputation of toes or feet, and nerve damage. People with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke and 10 times as likely to need feet or toes amputated than people without diabetes.
Georgia ranked No. 9 of the top 10 U.S. states with the highest rates of diabetes, with 869,486 people (10.7 percent of Georgia’s population) diagnosed as diabetic in 2015. In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month (November), here are some facts and common misconceptions about diabetes.
The 3 Types
Diabetes Type 1:
Type 1 diabetes is more commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. The cause is unknown and assumed to stem from genetics, but it is identified as the body not producing insulin.
Diabetes Type 2:
Type two is the most common form of diabetes and is caused by hyperglycemia, which is higher than normal blood glucose levels. Hyperglycemia causes the body to not use insulin properly, creating “insulin resistance,” which causes the pancreas to work overtime to produce insulin. This results in the pancreas failing to create enough insulin to keep blood glucose at normal levels.
This form of diabetes develops in women during pregnancy. Women who experience gestational diabetes don’t necessarily have diabetes before conception and will not necessarily develop it after the child is born. However, these women do have a 50-percent chance of developing diabetes within 10-20 years of delivery. The best thing to do is talk to a doctor and follow their instructions.
Busted Diabetes Myths
Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat chocolate or starches.
Truth: Diabetics no longer worry about “off limits” foods. The key to consuming sweets is portion control or using sugar substitutes.
Myth: Eating too much sugar can cause diabetes.
Truth: Not technically. Type 1 is cause by genetics, while Type 2 is caused by lifestyles choices.
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious.
Truth: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined, and it practically doubles the chance of having a heart attack.
Written by: Candace Mitchell and Anna Limoges