Despite the fact that the various forms of diabetes are so prevalent in our society, few truly understand the disorder. November is American Diabetes Month which means that it’s a great time to get informed, spread the word and be proactive about your own health as well as that of those around you. Here are some basics to help you get started!

The Numbers

It’s astonishing to imagine but almost 30 million children and adults are currently living with diabetes in the United States. As if that isn’t scary enough, 86 million Americans are also at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes or are prediabetic. According to the American Diabetes Association, this results in a total national cost of $245 billion annually!

Type 1 Diabetes

Most often diagnosed in children and young adults, Type 1, which accounts for just 5% of all affected by the disorder, used to be known as juvenile diabetes. It results from the fact that the body does not produce sufficient insulin which results in a failure to properly get glucose from the bloodstream after the body breaks down the sugars and starches found in food.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common form of diabetes, Type 2 occurs when the body doesn’t use insulin properly. This results in insulin resistance. Initially, the body tries to compensate by making extra insulin but, eventually, it will not be able to keep up and the amount of glucose in the bloodstream becomes elevated. This is also called hyperglycemia.

Gestational Diabetes

Around the 24th week of pregnancy, many expectant mothers develop gestational diabetes, even if they never had a history of trouble regulating their blood sugar levels. Often, the disorder is detecting during normal prenatal screening and can be managed with the help of a medical professional, diet and exercise. Having gestational diabetes does not mean that a woman will continue to be diabetic after she has given birth.

Treatment and Management

Diabetes is a serious medical condition but, fortunately, there are ways to manage it without it compromising a person’s quality of life. Medication is often prescribed to help manage insulin and glucose levels in the body. In addition to this, a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, being well-rested and managing stress all help to keep diabetes under control.

For more information about American Diabetes Month and the related disorders, visit the American Diabetes Association. If you are concerned about any symptoms you may be experiencing, get tested! Early intervention can make a huge difference!