Diabetes can strike anyone, at any age, and from any walk of life. And it does – in numbers that are dramatically increasing. In the last decade, the cases of people living with diabetes jumped almost 50 percent, to more than 29 million Americans. Worldwide, it afflicts more than 380 million people, and the World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, the number of people living with diabetes will more than double. Today, Diabetes takes more lives than AIDS and breast cancer combined, claiming the life of 1 American every 3 minutes. It is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke. Living with Diabetes places an enormous emotional, physical and financial burden on the entire family. Annually, Diabetes costs the American public more than $245 billion.
Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to create or effectively use its own insulin, which is produced by islet cells found in the pancreas. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels and provides energy to body cells and tissues. Without insulin, the body’s cells starve, causing dehydration and destruction of body tissue.
There are three types of Diabetes:
Type I Diabetes is diagnosed when the Pancreas stops making insulin, and insulin must be delivered by injection or a pump for survival.
Type II Diabetes, is the most common form of Diabetes. It typically develops after age 35. People diagnosed with Type II Diabetes are able to produce some of their own insulin. Often, it’s not enough, and sometimes, the insulin will try to serve as the “key” to open the body’s cells, to allow the glucose to enter. But the key won’t work, and the cells won’t open. This is called insulin resistance. Type II Diabetes can be controlled by following a healthy meal plan and a program of regular physical activity, losing excess weight, and taking medications. Insulin is also commonly used to control blood glucose in people with Type II Diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes typically emerges in the middle of pregnancy. Most women are tested between 24 and 28 weeks gestation. The majority of women develop some insulin resistance at the end of their pregnancy, but when it happens in the middle of pregnancy there is more time to harm the infant and mother.