Did you know that 34.2 million people, or about 10.5% of the U.S. population, have diabetes?  Unfortunately, this group of diseases that affect blood sugar regulation are increasing rapidly in the United States.  Even more alarming is that, according to the CDC, 84% of people with pre-diabetes don’t know they have that condition.

Diabetes can impact many different parts of the body and is associated with serious conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputation, to name a few. Diabetes is frequently categorized into type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes requires insulin to be injected and glucose levels closely monitored. Previously known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is now thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that are responsible for making insulin. Unfortunately, there are no known means of preventing this type of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and generally develops in people over 45. Sadly, this type of diabetes has seen a dramatic increase in children, teens, and young adults being diagnosed as a result of sedentary lifestyles and issues with increased weight or obesity. Although some people with type 2 diabetes require medicine to manage their blood glucose levels, many can control their diabetes through a healthy diet and exercise routine. Pre-diabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but don’t yet meet the criteria to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes and may affect more than one in three Americans. Almost all individuals who develop type 2 diabetes have pre-diabetes; however, they can avoid further progression to a diagnosis of type 2 through a treatment plan that incorporates a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. According to the CDC, 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes every year. A lack of insulin does not cause this type of diabetes but rather other hormones created by the placenta that make insulin less effective, causing insulin resistance. Thankfully, 90% of these cases will resolve once the baby has been born.

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