Diabetes is usually a lifelong (chronic) disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. Type 2 is the most common where the body doesn't produce enough insulin.
People who are overweight and obese have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with a healthy body weight, and African-Americans have a higher risk for diabetes than other races. Controlling weight, eating healthy and getting exercise helps control diabetes. If diabetes gets out of control, you can develop more serious complications.
Complications from diabetes:
- Blindness - diabetes affects the small vessels in the eyes. If not controlled, it can lead to anything from blurry vision, cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy (acute damage to the retina of the eye) and blindness.
- Sexual dysfunction - many people are not aware that men with diabetes are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction and women are more likely to have painful intercourse. The Joslin Diabetes Center reports that more than 50 percent of men with type 2 diabetes develop erectile dysfunction.
- Foot problems - diabetes can damage the nerves and interfere with proper circulation in the feet. It can lead to amputation in some cases.
- Tooth decay and gum disease - because diabetes affects small vessels, it can cause disease in the soft tissue of the gums and also lead to tooth decay.
Prevent diabetes in the first place
Type 1 diabetes may not be able to be prevented; type 1 is where the body does not produce any insulin at all. Only 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1, and it is usually diagnosed when they are children or adolescents.
Type 2 diabetes, however, may be reversed with lifestyle changes, such as losing weight with exercise and by eating healthier foods. Keeping your weight normal, eating well and staying active will lower your risk of diabetes. In both types of diabetes, patients must take care of their health in order to prevent more serious complications from the disease.
To read more about diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org