Must-know Facts About Diabetes

As one of the leading causes of death in the world, diabetes is something that everyone needs to take seriously. Considering the fact that the most common type, type 2, is preventable suggests that more education is needed to keep people from developing it in the first place. Whether you suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes or not, it pays to be aware of the facts, including the risks. Read on to pick up 21 important facts about diabetes.


    • It is Prevalent Across the World – Across the world, more than 422 million people suffer from diabetes. Odds are that the figure is even higher than that due to the many undiagnosed cases that are out there.


    • It is a Huge Problem in the U.S. – Although diabetes tends to be more common in low- and middle-income countries, it is widely prevalent in the United States. Indeed, more than 30 million U.S. adults suffer from the condition. Incredibly, one in four people are not even aware that they have it.


    • Prediabetes is a Major Issue Too – Prediabetes, which is a set of conditions that can lead to Type 2 diabetes, is also a major problem across the U.S. It is estimated that more than 84 million U.S. adults suffer from prediabetes – and more than one-third of them don’t even know it. This is especially problematic because there are things that can be done to prevent the onset of full-fledged diabetes.


    • Diabetes Kills Millions of People Every Year – Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the world. In 2012 alone, the condition was directly responsible for the deaths of more than 1.5 million people across the globe. Chances are that these figures are higher still due to the many undiagnosed cases that occur.


    • Diabetes is a Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. – As the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., diabetes is a serious disease that can have serious consequences. A major part of the problem is the lack of early diagnosis for many people, which can increase the odds of severe complications.


    • Incidences of Diabetes are On the Rise – Over the last two decades or so, the number of adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled. The majority of these diagnoses are for cases of Type 2 diabetes, which is often caused by poor diets and sedentary lifestyles. With the U.S. population aging rapidly and the rate of obesity on the rise, it is not surprising that more diagnoses are being made every year.


    • Worldwide, Diabetes is Rapidly Becoming More Widespread – Since the year 1980, the number of people who suffer from diabetes around the world has nearly quadrupled. Again, this increase is largely being caused by the sharp increase in obesity rates across the world. As more and more people adopt sedentary lifestyles, the rate of diabetes is likely to keep rising.


    • Type 1 Diabetes is Probably Caused by an Immune Reaction – Although researchers aren’t precisely clear about it, they believe that Type 1 diabetes is largely triggered by an immune reaction. With this type of diabetes, a person’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. In turn, the body produces less insulin, and glucose levels rise. There is no cure for this type of diabetes.


    • Type 2 Diabetes is caused by Lifestyle Factors – Also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes, Type 2 diabetes differs from Type 1 in that the pancreas frequently continues to produce some insulin. However, either enough isn’t produced, or it isn’t used properly by the body. In turn, there is too much insulin in the body. This type of diabetes can be prevented or treated through changes in diet and exercise.


    • Type 2 Diabetes is Far More Common than Type 1 – Only 5 percent of cases of diabetes is categorized as Type 1. That means that around 95 percent of cases are categorized as Type 2 – and that is the type that can be treated or even prevented through lifestyle changes.


    • There Are Risk Factors Associated with Type 1 Diabetes – You are more at risk of developing Type 1 diabetes if you have a family history of it. Additionally, children, teens and young adults are at much greater risk of developing Type 1 diabetes than older people.


    • The Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes are Different than for Type 1 – Risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes largely involve lifestyle choices. This type of diabetes is more likely to occur in people who are over the age of 45. More notably, it is more likely to occur if you are overweight or obese and if you are physically active less than three times per week. As with Type 1, you are at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed.


    • Diabetes is a Risk Factor for Heart Disease – People who have diabetes – whether Type 1 or Type 2 – are twice as likely to develop heart disease or to experience a stroke than those who do not have the condition.


    • Your Risk for Kidney Disease and Amputations Increases with Diabetes – Incredibly, the number-one cause of Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States in 2019 was diabetes. Those who suffer from that disease are in turn more likely to suffer from lower-limb amputations and from adult-onset blindness.


    • Smokers are More Likely to Develop Type 2 Diabetes – Studies have shown that people who smoke cigarettes are 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than non-smokers. That is especially true when combined with a poor diet and a lack of regular exercise.


    • Medical Costs for Diabetes Sufferers are High – Diabetes costs the U.S. and the global economy billions or even trillions of dollars every year. Indeed, someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes can be expected to face medical costs that are roughly twice as high as for those who do not suffer from the disease. This is largely due to the cost of treating the disease and of the many complications that can arise because of it.


    • Insulin Treatment isn’t Always Needed for Type 2 Diabetes – When diagnosed early enough, in particular, Type 2 diabetes can be treated without the need for insulin injections. The first step is usually to make lifestyle changes regarding diet and exercise. When that doesn’t work, oral blood glucose-lowering drugs may be prescribed. Insulin is usually the last resort. People with Type 2 diabetes usually start insulin within 7 years of diagnosis.


    • Diabetes can Cause a Number of Serious Complications – Both types of diabetes have widespread effects on a person’s health. The disease can affect blood vessels at the backs of the eyes, causing visual impairment and even blindness. It can cause kidney damage or failure and nerve damage – particularly to the lower extremities, which can cause a loss of sensation in the feet and ulceration of the legs. It takes a toll on the heart and vascular health and can cause blood clots in the vessels in the legs that can lead to amputation.


    • Type 2 Diabetes is Usually Diagnosed Because of Complications – Type 2 diabetes often goes undiagnosed for years. During that time, high blood glucose levels can prompt a number of complications – and those are what usually bring people to the doctor.


    • Early Diagnosis and Intervention is Crucial – For the best outcome, diabetes needs to be diagnosed early, and intervention must be made right away.


    • Type 2 Diabetes Can Be Prevented – People who are diagnosed as being prediabetic can prevent the onset of full-fledged Type 2 diabetes by engaging in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week and by sticking to a healthy diet.


If you think that you may suffer from diabetes or prediabetes, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away.