by Lauren Mandel
Each year, the entire world comes together to celebrate the importance of health on World Health Day. This year is no different, but for 2016, there is a specific health initiative associated with the holiday: diabetes awareness.
According to the World Health Organization, around 350 million people worldwide have diabetes, and that number is expected to double over the next two decades. But did you know that of those diabetes cases, 90 percent are type 2 diabetes? Do you know the difference between type 1 and type 2? Could you use more information on diabetes in general?
To help support the mission of the World Health Organization and health care organizations around the world, we’re sharing important information about diabetes and how you can prioritize your health today – and in the future.
What exactly is diabetes?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that diabetes is a chronic illness. Diabetes occurs when your body has too much glucose, or too much sugar, in your blood. Normally, your pancreas creates insulin to help regulate the amount of sugar that goes into your bloodstream. But when you have diabetes, you either don’t produce enough insulin or what you do produce is not used properly.
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
People with type 1 diabetes produce no insulin at all, which is why they must take insulin injections to help control their glucose levels. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in people under the age of 20.
Type 2 diabetes means insulin is produced, but either not enough or the insulin that is produced can’t be used properly. This type of diabetes can largely be prevented, which is why programs like Medicare are introducing diabetes prevention programs.
How common is diabetes?
What are possible side effects of diabetes?
If left untreated, diabetes can have some very serious side effects. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and the leading cause of new vision loss in adults in the United States. The disease can also affect your heart, nerves, gums, and teeth.
Can diabetes be prevented?
Diabetes is predicted to be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030, but most cases of diabetes can be prevented. While type 1 diabetes cases are out of the person’s control, type 2 cases can almost always be delayed or prevented. Try getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco products.