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Facts About Diabetes
HEALTHY LIVING- Fall Edition 2008
There are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 17.9 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.7 million people are unaware that they have the disease. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. This type of diabetes, also known as juvenile-onset diabetes, accounts for 10-15% of all people with the disease. It can appear at any age, although commonly under 40, and is triggered by environmental factors such as viruses, diet or chemicals in people genetically predisposed. People with type 1 diabetes must inject themselves with insulin several times a day and follow a careful diet and exercise plan. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with the disease. This type of diabetes, also known as late-onset diabetes, is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. The disease is strongly genetic in origin but lifestyle factors such as excess weight, inactivity, high blood pressure and poor diet are major risk factors for its development. When it comes to type 2 diabetes — the most common type of diabetes — prevention is a big deal. Some ways in which to prevent diabetes is to lose extra weight, limit your sugar intake, eat plenty of fiber, exercise daily, and to skip fad diets.