So What is Diabetes and Why Should I be Concerned?

The CDC says – Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from problems in how insulin is produced, how insulin works, or both. People with diabetes may develop serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and premature death.

Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells primarily within the muscles, liver, and fat tissue do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the beta cells in the pancreas gradually lose the ability to produce sufficient quantities of the hormone. The role of insulin resistance as opposed to beta cell dysfunction differs among individuals, with some having primarily insulin resistance and only a minor defect in insulin secretion, and others with slight insulin resistance and primarily a lack of insulin secretion. The risk for developing type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity.

Our body turns the food we eat into glucose, and then uses it for energy. The pancreas, makes the hormone insulin to help glucose get into our cells. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough (or any) insulin (Type 1 Diabetes) or can’t use the insulin that your pancreas makes, causing glucose to build up in your blood (Type 2 Diabetes).

Mike is Type 2 diabetic. He got this disease at age 62. His family has a history of diabetes. He had several uncles and aunts on his mother’s side that had the disease. He has a brother that has been diabetic for over 20 years. Mike knew about his risk, but never thought it would happen to him, because he looks like and takes after his father’s side of the family.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Complications from diabetes include amputation, kidney failure, blindness, stroke, and heart disease.

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