November is Diabetes Awareness Month; the purpose of this special recognition is to raise awareness about both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that over 30 million Americans have this chronic health condition, and approximately 1/4 of people with diabetes don't realize they have it.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition where the body's immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The pancreas no longer produces insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. The sugar remains in the blood and can subsequently cause serious damage to organ systems and lead to heart disease. People afflicted with Type 1 diabetes have to pump or inject insulin into their bodies each day to regulate their blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is neither preventable nor curable.
Type 2 diabetes is more common, and is characterized by a high level of blood sugar (glucose), which comes mostly from the food a person eats. Insulin helps the body use glucose for energy. With Type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use it properly. Too much glucose remains in the blood, potentially causing internal damage. Fortunately, this type of diabetes can be managed and even prevented.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight or obese, being physically inactive, and being genetically predisposed to it. If you think you may have Type 2 diabetes, it's important to be tested for it (a simple blood test will determine if you have it). Symptoms to look for include increased hunger, thirst, and urination; feeling tired and having blurred vision; numbness or tingling in the feet or hands; and unexplained weight loss. Symptoms can develop very slowly and be mild, making it more difficult to notice them. Some people have no symptoms at all.
To schedule diabetes testing or for additional information, please contact Dr. Priyanka Gauravi, Endocrinologist at Morrison Community Hospital.
Morrison Community Hospital
303 North Jackson Street
Morrison, IL 61270