Here are the simple facts about diabetes: your body either isn’t getting enough insulin or does not effectively use the insulin that it does produce. Insulin is the hormone that converts sugar, starches and other foods into the energy you need for daily life. Think of it this way; if your body is an engine, then diabetes is what is clogging up your fuel lines. Although there isn’t a cure yet, there are treatments and affective measures you can take to life a healthy and normal life.

Do you know enough about diabetes to determine if you have the disease? Too often diabetes goes undetected because the symptoms are considered harmless. The common warning signs include frequent urination, excessive thirst and hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability and blurry vision. Taken alone those symptoms aren’t unique but add them together and the warning signs are clear. A doctor can determine your diabetic status by administering a Fasting Plasma Glucose test (FPG) or a Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Type 1 diabetes refers to people whose bodies can’t produce insulin while Type 2 denotes people whose bodies can’t properly use insulin. There is also the state of pre-diabetes which actually affects close to 57 million Americans. If gone unchecked pre-diabetes can turn into Type 1 or 2. If you think you are at risk, see your doctor.

Although the exact cause of diabetes remains a mystery there are two important risk factors to be aware of: family history and weight. Genetics plays a key role in determining if you are susceptible to diabetes. The same can be said for those who are overweight. Knowing if you are in the high risk category will provide guidance towards the steps you can take to avoid becoming diabetic.

One of the myths about diabetes is that if you are diagnosed you can no longer have sweets or chocolate. The truth is that taken within the confines of a healthy meal plan and exercise program, there is no reason why diabetes can’t feed their “sweet tooth.” Another falsehood about diabetes is that because you are diabetic you have to strictly eat diabetic foods. The truth is, like the rest of us, a diabetic’s diet should consist of meals low in salt and sugar and high in whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables.

Educating yourself about diabetes can help you and your family to enjoy healthy and long lasting lives.

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