4 P.M. INTERVIEW: World Diabetes Day

Published: Nov. 14, 2017 at 11:11 AM CST
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Today is World Diabetes Day and according to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million people in the country have diabetes.

Diabetes is growing at an epidemic rate in the United States and was the seventh leading cause of death in 2015.

In type 1 diabetes, due to an autoimmune process, the body loses its ability to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to process food normally. Those with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to live.

With type 2 diabetes, the most common type, the body has higher than normal blood sugar levels because the body is not able to use insulin as it should, and there is a gradual decline in the ability of the body to produce insulin.

Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their diabetes with healthy eating and exercise, but most will need medication, including insulin for some people.

It is estimated that more than a quarter of the people who have diabetes do not know it. That’s over 8 million people with undiagnosed diabetes. Some of the symptoms include:

• Urinating often

• Feeling very thirsty

• Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating

• Extreme fatigue

• Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal

• Weight loss, even though you are eating more

• Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands or feet

Over time, high blood glucose levels damage nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death among people with diabetes.

Uncontrolled diabetes can eventually lead to other health problems as well, such as vision loss, kidney disease, and amputations. With the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are to prevent or delay the onset of complications.