Diabetes is on the rise, especially here in the United States. In 2014, the CDC released a report that 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population at the time) had diabetes. And about 8.1 million of them were undiagnosed. Now that’s an alarming number!
In this article, we want to take you through the two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Then we’ll let you know the factors that can lead to getting diabetes and finally talk about prediabetes and how to know if you’re at risk.
The Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)
Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)
Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)
Risk Factors of Diabetes
For Type 1 Diabetes, the common risk factors are:
- Family history
- Infection or illness
- Disease of the pancreas
This is the type of diabetes that is not generally something you can control, as opposed to the risk factors of Type 2 Diabetes.
To put it simply, there are 4 major risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. These include:
- Lack of exercise
- Unhealthy eating
- Family History
Other major factors include:
- Ethnic background
- Insulin resistance
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition when someone has a higher blood sugar level than normal, but
not high enough to diagnose them with diabetes. This person is considered prediabetic because of this high level.
If this person also has several other risk factors like they’re over the age of 45, are overweight, have a family history of the disease, etc. they really need to consult with a doctor about what they can do to prevent diabetes.
According to the CDC, if you have prediabetes, doing two things can help prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. These include:
- Lose 5-7% of your body weight
- Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week