About Diabetes

Understanding Diabetes

The underlying cause of diabetes varies by the type of diabetes. However, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood, which sets off a domino effect of potential (serious) health problems. Chronic diabetes conditions include Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include Pre-diabetes and Gestational diabetes. Pre-diabetes is often the precursor of diabetes and occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy but may be resolve after the baby is delivered.

What Causes Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-lasting, chronic health condition that affects how your body processes and breaks down blood sugar (also known as glucose), which is a vital component to your overall health. Glucose serves as an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It's also a main source of fuel for your brain. Most of the food you eat is released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, a signal is sent to your pancreas to release insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t utilize the insulin it creates, which results in too much blood sugar in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, loss of vision and kidney disease.

Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes symptoms will vary, depending on the levels of your blood sugar. Some people, especially those with Pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, may not  experience symptoms that often. For Type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to be more prevalent and severe .

Some of the signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are:

  • Constant Thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Extreme Hunger
  • Unexplained Weight loss
  • Presence of Ketones in the Urine
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Slow-Healing Sores
  • Frequent Infections

Types Of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops your body from making insulin. Approximately 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have Type 1. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. If you have Type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to take insulin every day to survive.
  • Type 2 diabetes Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is caused by several factors, including lifestyle and genes. If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body does not create or use insulin sufficiently. About 90-95% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which can be developed at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active.
  • Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have Gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health problems. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born but increases you and your baby's risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Pre-diabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. And Pre-diabetes is often the precursor of diabetes unless appropriate measures are taken to prevent progression.

Diabetes Health Complications

People with diabetes are twice as likely to have the following health complications:

  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Eye & Foot Complications

If you have diabetes, the smallest scratch or cut can quickly turn into an extremely dangerous health serious situation if you're not careful. Ignoring a cut or not properly treating it the right way, can slow the healing process, leading to an infection, and, in the worst case, possibly an amputation.

Diabetes Facts

Get the facts on diabetes in the U.S. (Source CDC)

  • In the U.S., 34.2 million adults have diabetes, 10.5% of the population.
  • More than 88 million U.S. adults (one third of the population) have pre-diabetes, and more than 84% of them don’t know they have it.
  • Every 17 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes – totaling 1.5 million new cases of diabetes in the U.S. each year.
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10%.
  • Since 2001, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled.
  • African Americans are twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes compared to whites. This disproportion is due to a number of behavioral, environmental and socioeconomic factors..
  • Statistics for Type 2 diabetes in Washington, D.C., neighborhoods East of the Anacostia River (Wards 7 and 8) is among the highest in the U.S.
  • African American D.C. residents have some of the highest mortality rates (twice the national average) from Type 2 diabetes and its complications.

Diabetes By Age, Gender & Race/Ethnicity

Here is a snapshot of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older with undiagnosed and diagnosed diabetes. (Source CDC)

  • Age 18 - 44 (4.2%)
  • Age 45 - 64 (17.5%)
  • Age 65+ (26.8%)
  • Men (14.0%)
  • Women (12.0%)
  • Non Hispanic Whites (11.9%)
  • Non Hispanic Blacks (16.4%)
  • Hispanics (14.7%)
  • Asians (14.9%)

Speak With An Expert Today

If you are considered a high-risk candidate for diabetes, and would like to get your blood sugar tested to see if you have Type 1, Type 2, Gestational or Pre-diabetes, one of the experts at the Howard University Hospital Diabetes Treatment Center is ready to speak with you at your earliest convenience. Call us at 202-865-3350 to schedule a test or click on the red tab below to get started.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart diseasevision loss, and kidney disease.

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