Diabetes means that blood glucose or blood sugar is too high. Glucose or sugar comes from the food that we eat and is needed to fuel our bodies. It is stored in our liver and muscles. Your body needs glucose for energy so there is always some glucose in your blood. The pancreas makes insulin which helps glucose get from your blood into your cells to be utilized for energy. If you have diabetes, the pancreas makes no insulin ( type 1) or too little insulin or your cells cannot use insulin (type 2) very well. Glucose then builds up in your blood and cannot get into your cells to be used. If blood glucose stays too high, it can damage parts of your body such as the heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
If you have diabetes, you may need to take insulin or oral medication to help the body’s supply of insulin to work better. Now more young adults are getting type 2 diabetes than ever before. The reason is the obesity epidemic in the US.
What puts you are risk?
You are at risk for diabetes if you:
- are overweight
- don’t get enough physical activity
- have a mom, dad, or close relative who has type 2 diabetes
- are American Indian, Alaska Native, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
FACT: Eating TOO much sugar DOES NOT cause diabetes.
KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS!
If you have type 2 diabetes, you might:
- urinate a lot
- be very thirsty
- lose weight without reason
- feel tired
- have patches of thick, dark skin that feels like velvet on your neck and arms
How can I lower my risk for getting type 2 diabetes?
There are several ways to lower your risk:
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Be more physically active
- Choose to eat the right amounts of healthy foods
If you lower your risk for type 2 diabetes you will have more energy, feel good about yourself and be healthy for now and in the future!
If you would like to learn more about diabetes, check out…
American Diabetes Association @ www.diabetes.org/planetD