The American Diabetes Association says that 21 million Americans have diabetes. About 30 percent of them do not know that they have the disease.
The 20th Annual American Diabetes Alert Day Tuesday, should sound a wake up call to awareness about the disease with people encouraged to take the Diabetes Risk Test and to learn more about the disease from a trusted health care professional.
Diabetes is a health condition that develops and becomes intense over a period of time. Hence diabetes is diagnosed only after it reaches serious proportions and leads to a heart attack or something equally drastic.
There are two types of diabetes. The common form called type 2, occurs when the body is incapable of producing enough of the hormone called insulin. A reduced insulin supply leads to accumulation of sugar in the blood because insulin is needed to transport sugar in the blood to cells for energy that the body needs
Obesity, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyles with little or no exercise are common contributors to this form of the disease.
Type 1 diabetes, is most often diagnosed in children and young adults
According to federal projections an estimated 48 million Americans will have type 2 diabetes by the year 2050. The problem with this disease is that "it will bring with it complications such as blindness, hearing loss, kidney disease, nervous system disorders and amputations of extremities," say health experts.
Dr. Sue Kirkman, vice president of clinical affairs for the American Diabetes Association said, "Studies have suggested that for the first time in history, the generation of people born in 2000 is probably going to have shorter life expectancy than their parents." She adds, "That's attributable to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Is that what we want for our children?"
The onset of diabetes can be prevented by healthy options in life. "We know people who take public transportation are more physically active. Do we choose to encourage that?" asks Dr. Kirkman.
It is important that healthy choices in diets and lifestyles are passed on to children to keep the good work going.