November is National Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness about a chronic health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Diabetes is a complex disease that can lead to severe complications if left unmanaged. To mark this important month of awareness, we’ll delve into what diabetes is, discuss its various forms, and highlight the warning signs that everyone should be aware of. Early recognition and intervention can make a significant difference in managing diabetes effectively and improving overall health.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, regulates blood sugar levels by helping glucose enter the body’s cells for energy. When the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use it effectively, it leads to elevated blood sugar levels, which can result in various health issues.
Types of Diabetes
- Type 1: This form of diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. People with Type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin therapy to manage their blood sugar levels.
- Type 2: Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, where the body’s cells don’t respond effectively to insulin. Initially, the pancreas compensates by producing more insulin, but over time, it may not keep up, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.
- Gestational: This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy when the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet increased insulin needs. It typically resolves after childbirth, but it can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Warning Signs of Diabetes
- Frequent Urination (Polyuria): One of the most common signs is an increased need to urinate, especially at night.
- Excessive Thirst (Polydipsia): People with diabetes often experience extreme thirst due to the body’s attempt to flush out excess sugar through urine.
- Unexplained Weight Loss: Despite increased hunger, unexplained weight loss can occur in individuals with diabetes.
- Increased Hunger (Polyphagia): Elevated blood sugar levels can always make you feel hungry.
- Fatigue: Diabetes can lead to fatigue and a general sense of weakness and lethargy.
- Blurred Vision: Elevated blood sugar levels can affect the lens in your eye, causing temporary vision changes.
- Slow Healing Wounds: Diabetes can impair the body’s ability to heal, leading to slow-healing wounds, frequent infections, and skin problems.
- Tingling or Numbness: Peripheral neuropathy, a common diabetes complication, can cause tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands and feet.
- Frequent Infections: High blood sugar levels can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections, particularly urinary tract and skin infections.
- Dark Skin Patches (Acanthosis Nigricans): Some people with Type 2 diabetes develop dark, velvety patches of skin, typically in skin folds like the neck or armpits.
National Diabetes Month serves as a reminder of the importance of diabetes awareness, prevention, and management. Recognizing its warning signs is the first step in taking control of your health. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation and guidance. Promoting early detection and adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications and improve overall well-being.
To learn more about Supply360, contact us online or call (866) 710-7626 to see how we can meet your facility’s diabetic needs.