Diabetes is a common ailment that is still considered a mystery to those who haven’t experienced it directly. Most people know it has something to do with blood sugar and “you take insulin”, but that’s about it.

Unfortunately, diabetes diagnoses are rapidly increasing in the United States.  According to the Diabetes Research Institute  (DRI), in 2018 there were an estimated 1.5 million new diagnoses of diabetes, including an estimated 210,000 children and adolescents aged 20 years or younger. 

Furthermore, statistics from The Ohio Department Of Health show that 3.3 million Ohio residents have either diabetes or prediabetes.  These are epidemic numbers. What is even more alarming is that there are a multitude of undiagnosed diabetics as well. 

In the last comprehensive study from DRI there were a total of 34.2 million people, or 10.5% of the U.S. population, known to  have diabetes. Of that a whopping 7.3 million people were thought to have diabetes, but were not yet diagnosed. 

The following articles are a multi-part series designed to educate our community on what diabetes is, how to recognize the disease’s symptoms, and the overall impact on one’s health. If you or a loved one has diabetes you should read these articles to help you understand what you are facing.

So what is diabetes? 

It is a condition in which there is too much glucose (aka sugar) in the blood. It manifests in two forms:

Type 1, in which insulin isn’t produced by the body, and
Type 2, in which your body isn’t using insulin the way it should.

What does insulin do?

It is the hormone that processes the sugar in your blood and allows it to be used in your cells for energy. 

What are symptoms of having diabetes?

Common symptoms of both type one and type two include:  High blood sugar, increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections. If you experience any of these symptoms, you may want to have a conversation with your doctor about diabetes screening. 

Luckily, both types of diabetes can be controlled with the assistance of insulin supplements, healthy eating, and proper exercise. However, if left unchecked, diabetes can have a serious impact on your body.

The impact of diabetes affects all aspects of the body, including your: bones, joints, skin, organs, nerves, and mental health.

Diabetes was listed as the seventh leading cause of death in the US in 2017.  The same statistics found that the total cost for diagnosed diabetes in the US was $327 billion for that year, with the average individual facing an additional $9,601 in excess medical costs annually due to diabetes care.

If you or a loved one have any questions about diabetes, bring it up to your health care professional.

If you want to learn more about the various ways diabetes can impact your health, stay tuned for our follow up articles. Next week’s topic: Diabetes and Bone Health.