Photo by Mykenzie Johnson on Unsplash
According to the Centers of Disease Control more than 29 million US adults have diabetes, and 25% of them don’t know it. 86 million US adults— more than a third—have prediabetes, and 90% of them don’t know it. The prevalence of diabetes has increased tremendously over the years and if current trends were to continue it is estimated that 1 in 3 US adults would have diabetes by 2050.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic health condition and has been associated with variety of long-term complications including damage to the eyes (retinopathy), kidneys (nephropathy), nerves (neuropathy) besides higher incidence of heart disease, strokes and disease of the peripheral vascular system. One of the major goals of treatment for this condition is to reduce the risk of these complications. There are two major types of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes accounts for ~5% of all cases of diabetes. This condition results from the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas by the patient's immune system. Insulin is the main treatment for type 1 diabetes, and this can be accomplished by injections, inhaled insulin or an insulin pump. Fortunately, insulin treatment is more flexible and user-friendly than ever before due to advancements in medical science and technology.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes accounts for ~90-95% of all cases of diabetes. This condition results from a combination of insulin resistance, relative insulin deficiency, and additional defects in metabolic pathways. Type 2 diabetes is closely associated with other metabolic disorders such as obesity, abnormal lipids and high blood pressure. Sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits also contribute to this type of diabetes. It can be diagnosed fairly easily via standardized blood glucose testing. Early on, this condition typically responds to a combination of diet, exercise and pills. As the condition progresses, patients usually require injectables including insulin. Several new medication classes are now available to manage this condition.