November is National Diabetes Month


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An estimated 20.8 million of the United States population suffers from diabetes, but only 14.6 million have had the disease diagnosed. It is the sixth cause of death in the United States.

Diabetes is a disease that impairs the body's ability to use sugar, or glucose properly. Normally, the small intestines takes out the sugar / glucose, and puts it in your blood. The glucose is burned as fuel to give your cells energy to do their job. To get into the cells, the glucose needs insulin which acts as a key to open the cells and let the glucose in. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a gland located just beneath the stomach.

In people with diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin to burn glucose or the insulin they have does not work right. Doctors do not yet know the reasons for this.

There are two types of diabetes, Type I diabetes (insulin dependent or juvenile diabetes) often runs in families. Usually it develops before the age of 30. These people do not produce enough insulin because their cells have been destroyed. It requires a strict daily regimen that includes diet, insulin injections, and monitoring of blood glucose.

Type II diabetes (non-insulin dependent or adult onset) typically develops after the age of 40, but can appear earlier. People can produce some insulin, but the body cannot use it effectively. Treatment includes weight loss, proper diet, reduced sugar intake, and exercise. Severe cases may be treated with oral medication or insulin injections.

Eating healthy now can help to prevent Type II diabetes later in life. Here are some recommendations to improve your diet. Eat less fat, avoid fatty foods. Eat foods lower in fat like fish, chicken, and turkey. Increase the intake of fruits, and vegetables. Eat more than half your carbohydrates from whole grains like breads, cereals, and pasta. Use less sugar and salt. Be aware of processed or canned foods. Read the labels for their content.

Source: & The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC