NORFOLK, Va – More than 30 million people in the United States are living with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, the CDC says only 25 percent actually know they have the deadly illness.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and News 3 medical practitioner Dr. Ryan Light is exactly what causes it, why its deadly and how you can help prevent it.
News 3: What contributes to this illness?
Dr. Light: There are two types of diabetes. Type I and Type II. In Type I diabetes, the body stops producing insulin, which is the chemical that helps regulate blood sugar. Without insulin, your body can no longer remove the sugar in the blood stream, causing a rise in blood sugar levels, which can finally contribute to important health problems. In Type II diabetes that the body generates resistance to insulin. This also contributes to the body wanting to generate more insulin. Finally the body can’t keep up with the higher insulin production and Type II diabetes happens.
News 3: What are the risk factors for diabetes?
Dr. Light: there are lots of risk factors that result in the growth of diabetes and pre-diabetes. These are risk factors for the illness:
- High blood pressure
- Elevated levels of triglycerides and low levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family background
**Gestational diabetes (a transient type of diabetes happening during pregnancy) and diabetes can also be concurrent with Polycystic ovarian syndrome**
News 3: What exactly does diabetes put you at risk for?
Dr. Light: Diabetes causes arteriole ailments. They are usually classified into small vessel diseases, like the ones between the eyes, kidneys, and nerves, and big vessel diseases involving the heart and blood vessels. Diabetes accelerates hardening of the arteries, leading to coronary artery disease (heart attack), strokes, and peripheral vascular disease. Peripheral arterial disease results in pain while walking and, in most serious cases, can lead to amputation.
News 3: Are there any unusual signs or symptoms?
Dr. Light: The first symptoms of untreated diabetes are linked to elevated glucose levels, and reduction of glucose in the urine. High amounts of glucose in the urine cause increased urine frequency and lead to dehydration. This dehydration causes increased appetite and water consumption. Diabetes can also cause weight reduction and an increase in appetite. Without insulin, the body is not able to convert the blood sugars into energy leading to the body feeling cluttered. This also contributes to nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. Some diabetics whine of change in vision and increased episode of disease.
News 3: How can we prevent it?
Dr. Light: Diabetes prevention begins with a healthy diet. Increasing physical activity and shedding extra pounds. Remember, it’s never too late to change your lifestyle so as to raise longevity and health.
The American Diabetes Association recommends these tips to prevent diabetes:
- Increased physical activity
- Eating more whole grains
- Getting Lots of fiber into your daily diet
- Skip fad diets and create healthy choices
- Loose Additional weight