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Diabetes Mellitus Awareness to Make Lifestyle Changes the Types

Diabetes (aka diabetes mellitus) runs in my family. I have had many relatives diagnosed. The finger pricking was a familiar sight. An older cousin was diagnosed early with type 1, once when her blood sugar got low she nearly passed out on the sidewalk. This is personal. Diabetes is nothing to mess around with.

Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases where there is an affect in how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). The levels may be high for extended periods of time. Glucose is important to your health because it provides energy for the cells making up muscles and tissues. The underlying cause of diabetes differs according to the type.

Still, it doesn’t matter what type you have this could lead to large amounts of sugar in your blood. Too much sugar here further leads to serious health problems.

Diabetes is a chronic (long lasting) health condition. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar and then moves to the bloodstream. When blood sugar goes up, this tells your pancreas (located under liver) to release insulin. Insulin is like a pass allowing blood sugar into your body’s cells to be turned into energy.

With those who are diabetic their body doesn’t provide enough insulin or they can’t use what their body makes that well. When insulin decreases or the cells stop responding to it excess sugar sits in the bloodstream. Through time this can lead to heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease.

Diabetics often have health problems with their eyes, gum disease, nerve damage, their feet care and wound healing.

There is no cure currently for diabetes. It is a condition that needs to be controlled. The risk can be decreased with losing weight, eating a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Taking medicine as needed and going in for your doctor appointments can also help control diabetes. This month become educated on diabetes and if needed there is support.

November is American (aka National) Diabetes Month. World Diabetes Day is November 14th. (Celebrities)

Prediabetes (aka impaired glucose tolerance)

According to the CDC, about 88 million adults in the United States are prediabetes. Including 84% plus not being aware of having it. Without treatment this could become type 2 diabetes within 10 years. In prediabetes the levels with blood sugar are more than normal, still not at a level yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

It is treatable requiring a medical diagnosis, lab test and imaging. Prediabetes can be chronic lasting for years or lifelong.

Self-care would be physical exercise, weight loss, low carbohydrate diet, Mediterranean diet, low fat diet, diabetic diet.

Anti-diabetic medication may be prescribed. Along with your Primary Care Provider an Endocrinologist and Nutritionist may be needed.

Also prediabetes increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. There is help through the CDC lifestyle change program.

person holding black tube
person testing blood sugar Photo by PhotoMIX Company on

The 3 Main Types

Type 1 (formally called juvenile diabetes)

The destroyed pancreatic cells aren’t producing enough insulin. This is usually diagnosed in the young; children, teens and young adults. About 193,000 under age 20 are affected. It is the most common chronic condition of school age children.

The cause is thought to be an autoimmune reaction, stopping the body in producing insulin. Around 5-10% is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

There is no cure it requires a medical diagnosis with lab test and imaging. Type 1 diabetes is chronic lasting for years or lifelong. This type can be critical needing emergency care.

The symptoms typically appear quickly within a couple weeks. Including; increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue and blurred vision.

Treating type 1 diabetes requires taking insulin every day to survive. You are insulin dependent. Attention must be on leveling blood sugar. A dietary supplement and hormone may be given. Presently there is no known prevention for type 1 diabetes.

Self-care would be diabetic diet, nutrition counseling, carbohydrate counting and physical exercise. Type 1 diabetes is controllable. It requires a lot of care.

Along with your Primary Care Provider an Endocrinologist, Nutritionist, Pediatrician and Emergency Medicine Doctor may be needed.

Type 2 (aka TD2 formally called adult onset diabetes)

Associated with high blood sugar, insulin resistance and lack of insulin, it is non-insulin dependent. Around 90-95% of people affected have diabetes type 2. Your body can’t use insulin well so the blood sugar is not kept at a normal level. Type 2 develops after several years and mostly diagnosed in adults. However there is an increase in younger people getting diagnosed.

It is treatable by your doctor requiring a medical diagnosis; lab test or imaging. Type 2 diabetes is chronic lasting years or lifelong.

The symptoms include; increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue and blurred vision, these may not be noticed so it is important to have your blood sugar tested if you are at risk. Some cases report no symptoms. Other symptoms may be sores that don’t heal (pressure ulcers).

Type 2 may lead to diabetic retinopathy which can result in blindness. Along with a concern of kidney failure and poor blood circulation of the arms and legs which may result in amputations.

Steps can be taken to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes including; losing weight, eating a healthy diet and being active.

Eating red meat and processed red meat both have a link to type 2 diabetes. Meats such as bacon, hot dogs and deli meats are specifically bad due to their high amounts of sodium and nitrites.

Self-care would include physical exercise, to quit smoking, lose weight, fiber in diet, nutrition counseling and reducing sugar and carbohydrates from diet.

You may be prescribed an anti-diabetic medication, anticoagulant, statin and/or insulin. Your Primary Care Provider as well as specialist such as Ophthalmologist, Endocrinologist, and Nutritionist may also be involved with your treatment.

Gestational Diabetes (sometimes referred to as Type 3)

Some women while pregnant who have never had diabetes may develop gestational diabetes. This puts the baby at risk for having health problems. Gestational diabetes often disappears after the baby is born but it puts you at higher risk of developing type 2 later in life. Also your baby is at increased risk of being overweight as a child or teen and more likely to have type 2 diabetes later as well.

Gestational diabetes may increase risk of pre-clampsia, depression and having a caesarean section. Babies born to mothers with poorly treated gestational diabetes have a higher risk of being too large, having low blood sugar after birth and jaundice.

There are support groups and programs. Diabetes can be controlled with life style changes.

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Header Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fourteen years.


The listing or mention of an organization, website or product is not meant as an endorsement or promotional purposes of any kind but simply to educate and pass on information.

This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis.

If you have a health condition or concern, please consult your doctor.

Researching content:    accessed 11/07/2020

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