Healthy Living: Breaking down diabetes, the silent killer

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. The chronic disease affects how your body turns food into energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should.

Thirty-four million people in the United States – 10 percent of the population – have diabetes.

And by far, type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent. About 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 and it’s usually diagnosed in adults.

Other kinds of diabetes are type 1, which is likely caused by an autoimmune reaction and is usually diagnosed in kids, and gestational diabetes which develops in some pregnant women who have never had diabetes.

"Diabetes over time can impact a number of different areas in your body," Dr. Drew Oliveira, Senior Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueShield. "Your heart, your kidneys, your blood vessels, your nerves - all of those can be impacted by having blood sugars that remain too high causing premature heart disease, chronic kidney disorder, including the need for dialysis, etc. So very important to get that under control as soon as you are diagnosed."
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active.

Over the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled. The disease is now the 7th leading cause of death in theUS, and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke.  People with diabetes are also more likely to have serious complications from covid-19. 

If you think you are at risk – the most important thing you can do is get screened and educate yourself.

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