Best Exercises for Diabetics

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bigstock Senior Couple Walking Through 61205498 300x200 - Best Exercises for DiabeticsExercising regularly is important for those of all ages. Getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can help reduce the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, strengthen bones, improve flexibility, keep weight in a healthy range, and can even lift your mood. Studies have also shown that exercise can help keep your brain healthy and your memory sharp as you age, lowering the risk for dementia by 35%.

If you have diabetes, regular exercise has even more added benefits. For instance, as it lowers your stress levels, it can lower your blood sugar levels, too.

Diabetes and Exercise – What are the Benefits?

Exercise helps your body use insulin and control blood glucose levels because as you exercise, cells in your muscles are using more sugar and oxygen than when you are inactive. As you work out, it’s common for blood sugar levels to drop. Specifically in people with type 2 diabetes, exercise can improve insulin sensitivity as well as help lower elevated blood glucose levels to keep them in the normal range.

This is because your body uses up to 20% more oxygen when you exercise. Your working muscles use more glucose to help meet their increased energy needs. Exercise allows insulin in the muscles to be more efficient, which means you’re getting more out of the insulin your body produces.

The Best Exercises for Diabetics

Some of the best exercises for diabetics to take part in regularly include:

  • Walking: Walking is a popular activity that can be done virtually anywhere, making it easy to accomplish on a regular basis. Three times a week, try to get in at least thirty minutes of brisk walking.
  • Swimming: Swimming is another aerobic exercise recommended for diabetics, because it can improve cholesterol levels, burn calories and lower stress. It’s a great activity for those with joint pain, because it alleviates pressure on the joints while stretching and relaxing the muscles.
  • Yoga: Yoga offers a variety of benefits for people with chronic conditions, including diabetes. Because it improves muscle mass, it can improve blood glucose levels. Yoga also lowers stress, improves nerve function, and is well-known to improve mental health and wellness.
  • Dancing: Dancing is a great exercise for diabetics, because as it increases your physical activity it promotes weight loss, improves your flexibility, reduces stress and lowers blood sugar. Plus, the mental work involved with memorizing the steps is great for your brain and memory, too!

Before starting any new workout regimen, talk to your doctor so you can be sure the exercise you choose is appropriate and safe for the type of diabetes you have. If you haven’t been active in a while, start off slowly, being active for 10 minutes at a time three times a day until you can go for a full 30 minutes.

Make sure you check your blood sugar before and after you exercise to learn how your body reacts to physical activity. Regardless of whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar should be less than 250 mg/dl before exercising. As you exercise, you should be prepared for any episodes of low blood sugar, too; keep some hard candy or some juice handy so you can bring your levels back up if needed. Remember to stay hydrated; drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

 

Recent Advances in Diabetes Research

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bigstock diabetes 300x198 - Recent Advances in Diabetes ResearchThe past several years have been active in regards to diabetes research. New advances in diabetes treatments and medications are evolving and becoming available to the public  and they show promise for not only better management of symptoms, but will also hopefully ultimately lead to a cure.

The Latest Diabetes Research

One of the most recent studies regarding diabetes looks at the connection between stress and type 2 diabetes. Evidence suggests that our environment actually plays a large role in our physical health, possibly even more so than genetics. It’s long been thought that when it comes to type 2 diabetes, family health history is one of the main factors in the risk for development of the disease. However, everyday stresses some people face may have a bigger impact. This is due to the fact that when we are in stressful situations, the body releases more cortisol, a hormone that tells the body to increase blood glucose and directs cells to absorb and store this glucose to keep it ready for muscles to burn. When cortisol levels are consistently on the high side, and no physical activity is being done to counteract the effects, this can contribute to type 2 diabetes.

Likewise, studies have also shown that diabetes and depression are also closely linked. Living with a chronic condition like diabetes can take a toll on mental health, and depression can make it difficult to take proper care of yourself. A new behavioral treatment plan being studied looks at targeting both depression and diabetes at the same time, as the necessary lifestyle changes that need to be implemented for diabetes management and mood improvement.

Another recent study done on diabetic mice found that injecting a group of hormones known as fibroblast growth factors (FGF) into the brain resulted in the rodents with type 2 diabetes being put into remission for two to four months. This specific hormone targets brain circuits involved in regulating blood glucose levels, and while researchers were not surprised the hormone worked to lower the glucose levels, they were surprised by how long the effect lasted after just one single injection. More research needs to be done on this particular finding, as this hormone also can cause cells to grow and divide, which can lead to cancer.

New Advances in Diabetes Treatment

More interesting diabetes research includes a study revealing that a medication used to treat high blood pressure may actually treat diabetes, too. A medication used to lower blood pressure called verapamil, which is sold under the brand names Calan, Verelan and Isoptin, may also help lower blood sugar levels. Studies show that people with diabetes, especially those currently using insulin treatment, had lower glucose levels when using this medication.

Another advance in diabetes treatment includes a study that shows a drug called Gleevec, which is approved to treat various forms of cancer, may actually be a potential cure for type 2 diabetes. Gleevec can lower the level of insulin resistance, which reduces the risk of both hyperglycemia and obesity. The exact reason why this drug improves insulin sensitivity and decreases blood glucose isn’t known yet, so more research is needed to determine the cause.

 

How Diabetes Differs for Men and Women

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bigstock Elderly Couple 59545961 300x200 - How Diabetes Differs for Men and WomenAlthough anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, your lifestyle, age and family history can put you at a higher risk. Common signs of diabetes include weight loss or gain, increased thirst, frequent urination or urinary tract infections, tingling or numb extremities, and feeling lethargic all the time.

Symptoms can develop gradually and can be somewhat difficult to notice; most people find out they are diabetic when they’re visiting the doctor for a different reason altogether.

The Facts about Diabetes and Gender

Recently, studies have revealed some differences in the impact of diabetes on women versus men. Statistics show that 11 percent of women in the United States age 20 and older have diabetes, a number just slightly less than men.

One of the major differences is how the disease is diagnosed. The signs of diabetes in men tend to be more recognizable, making it easier for men to get diagnosed earlier. Men tend to develop type 2 diabetes at a younger age and at a lower weight, which means they receive more aggressive treatment sooner for both diabetes and the potential heart health risks it can bring. Women tend to be further along in the disease when they are diagnosed, making them far more susceptible to complications.

Some of the ways diabetes symptoms in women have a greater impact on overall health include:

  • Heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women with diabetes. When a woman is diabetic, the risk for heart disease is six times higher than for women who do not have diabetes. Studies show that the risk of heart disease to women with diabetes is 50 percent higher than for men with diabetes.
  • Hormonal problems. Women’s hormones can also affect the way they manage their diabetes; menopause can cause changes in blood sugar levels, and some women find it difficult to keep their blood glucose at a normal level around their periods.
  • Mental health. Women with diabetes are more likely to suffer from depression than men. Women in general tend to experience depression twice as often as men, and when coupled with diabetes, it can take more of a toll on women overall.

Being aware of how type 2 diabetes can affect health and quality of life is key for managing diabetes symptoms in women and preventing any complications. Getting the effective health care is essential, too, and studies show that women tend to be treated less aggressively than men for cardiovascular risk factors that can stem from diabetes. Lifestyle changes like getting more exercise and eating healthy foods can help maintain better health and decrease the risk for diabetes.

Women at risk for developing diabetes should get screened often and maintain follow up appointments to ensure they are getting the treatment needed. Women with diabetes should also communicate often with their doctors, making sure they are on the right medications to keep their blood pressure and blood fat levels on target.

 

Common Symptoms of Diabetes

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bigstock Happy male doctor discussing w 84762917 300x200 - Common Symptoms of DiabetesEarly detection of diabetes is key to preventing the onset of complications. However, the problem is that some of the common diabetes symptoms are quite mild, so it might be difficult to even notice them in the first place.

The symptoms of diabetes are caused by higher than normal glucose levels in your blood. Around half of the people with type 2 diabetes are unaware they have the condition, and don’t get diagnosed until it’s progressed further. Symptoms can develop slowly, and those who may be at higher risk for diabetes should take care to monitor their health.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

If diabetes runs in your family, you’re overweight and not living a healthy lifestyle, have high blood pressure or heart disease, or are age 45 or older you could be more at risk for developing diabetes. It’s important to know the symptoms of diabetes so a proper diagnosis can be given as early as possible and you can start managing your condition right away. The earlier you start treatment, the better chance you have of reducing the risk for complications and long term side effects.

The most common diabetes symptoms include:

Increased feelings of tiredness. If you’re feeling tired all the time, this could be due to your body not making enough insulin or not using insulin properly. Your body converts glucose into energy, but it needs insulin to bring it in. If your body isn’t making enough insulin or is resisting what it is making, you aren’t able to get the glucose you need for energy, hence feeling fatigued often.

Frequent urination. When you have diabetes, your blood sugar is higher and your body may not be able to absorb it all. The leads to urinating more often as your body tries to get rid of the excess glucose.  When insulin is ineffective or missing altogether, your kidneys can’t filter the glucose back into the blood, so in order to dilute the glucose, the kidneys will take water from the blood which fills up your bladder.

Increased thirst. Because you are urinating more frequently, you’ll tend to get thirsty more quickly to replace lost fluids.

Extreme hunger. When insulin isn’t working properly in your blood or is missing altogether, your cells are not getting the energy they need and can react by trying to find more energy through food.

Sudden weight gain. When you’re feeling hungry all the time, you tend to eat more often to curb those feelings. Intense cravings for food can lead to making poor nutrition choices, too, which can cause you to gain weight quickly.

Slower healing. As time passes, higher glucose levels can affect your blood flow, undermining your body’s ability to heal even simple cuts and bruises in a normal amount of time.

Pain or numbing in legs and feet. Nerve damage, as well as damage to the tiny vessels feeding those nerves, caused by too much sugar in your blood can cause you to experience tingling, numbing or pain in your legs and feet. Your hands can be affected, too.

Swollen gums or gum infections. Another common diabetes symptom is to have tender, swollen or red gums. You may also often experience gum disease and other gum infections.

Blurry vision. Tissue pulling away from your eye lenses is a result of the changing fluid levels in your body, which can lead to your eyes losing the ability to focus. In severe causes, prolonged vision problems or even blindness can occur.

Itchy skin. When your body is creating excess fluids to urinate often, it can take moisture away from other systems of your body. Your skin might feel itchy and dry as you’re more apt to get dehydrated.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of diabetes, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Often, simply making some healthy lifestyle changes can help your reduce your risk and avoid future complications.

 

Stress and Diabetes

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bigstock Seniors doing yoga with closed 138261908 300x200 - Stress and DiabetesThroughout our lives, we all face certain stress from time to time. Stress is a physiological response to a perceived attack, event or activity that produces tension or strain. Stress can be physical, caused by an illness or injury, or it can be emotional in the way that we react to certain situations with our families, finances or health. No matter how the stress develops, each form takes a toll on the body. You may experience headaches, muscle pain, trouble sleeping, feeling irritable and depressed, and may end up withdrawing from social activities when you’re stressed.

When you are stressed, your body will react with a “fight or flight” response. Stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine kick in, creating stored energy in the form of glucose and fat for the cells to help the body cope with the challenge ahead. Your body directs blood to your limbs and muscles, which allows you to fight whatever the stressful situation might be.

How are Stress and Diabetes Related?

When someone has diabetes and is stressed, this elevated amount of blood glucose can affect insulin levels. This is because people with diabetes have a difficult time utilizing that fight-or-flight response effectively, since the right level of insulin isn’t always available to convert energy. This causes an increase of glucose in the bloodstream.

Plus, simply just having diabetes can be a stressful situation for some people. A lot goes into managing the condition, and long term problems with blood glucose can simply wear you down both mentally and physically.

How to Lower Your Stress Levels

First of all, it’s important for people with diabetes to recognize when they are stressed out. Because stress has simply become something we cope with on a daily basis throughout our hectic lives, it can be difficult to note when we are feeling especially stressed or anxious. However, when you have diabetes and are stressed, your insulin levels may need to be adjusted to compensate for the higher levels of glucose in your blood.

Take note of the times your stress levels are elevated. For instance, if you know heading to the doctor makes you anxious, rate how stressed you feel on a level of 1 to 10. Then, check your glucose levels and watch for patterns during these stressful situations. Often insulin will need to be adjusted during these periods.

After you’ve discovered what triggers the most stress in your life, there are ways to combat it. For instance, you can:

Meditate or try yoga. Calm your mind by meditating or practicing yoga and breathing exercises.

Practice relaxation therapy. Learn to tense and relax major muscle groups in a sequence. This type of therapy has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels.

Step back from the situation. If possible, remove yourself from the stressful situation. Take a few minutes to be alone, and find a quiet spot to focus on relaxing and breathing.

Incorporate physical activity into your routine. Cardiovascular exercise raises the levels of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, which can help improve your mood. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Pick up a relaxing hobby. If you find knitting or painting helps calm you down, join a class or workshop to hone in on your talents. Or, if you prefer to cozy up with a good book, make time each day to read for a while.

Join a support group. Talking to others who share similar experiences can provide invaluable help for those dealing with chronic conditions like diabetes. Ask your doctor if there are support groups in your area, or search online.

 

Tips for a Diabetes-Friendly Halloween

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bigstock Halloween Jack O Lantern Candy 145947140 300x200 - Tips for a Diabetes-Friendly HalloweenEven when you’re well past the recommended cut-off age for trick-or-treating, Halloween can be a tempting time of year for even the most health-conscious individuals! From bags of sugary and chocolatey candy to bowls of sweet punch at Halloween parties, it can be difficult to pass up these delicious treats this time of year.

However, if you have diabetes, it’s important to make smart decisions at Halloween time. After all, indulging too much will send your blood sugar through the roof and can result in complications that negatively affect your health.

Diabetes and Halloween: Avoiding Tempting Sugary Treats

When you’re on a diabetic diet, trick-or-treat time can be a harrowing time of year. But, if you remember that moderation is key while making better choices about indulging, Halloween doesn’t have to be so scary! Here are a few tips to ensure you stay as healthy as possible and keep your blood sugar in check at all those Halloween festivities this season:

Keep portion control in mind.

You don’t necessarily have to deny yourself treats altogether. If your sweet tooth really needs satisfaction, try setting aside one small piece of your favorite candy or chocolate that you can enjoy after a healthy meal. You can look forward to this treat, knowing it will satisfy your urges without skyrocketing your blood sugar by indulging too much.

Purchase treats that won’t tempt you.

When shopping for candy for your trick-or-treaters, avoid the temptation of opening those bags before Halloween even arrives by buying candy you don’t enjoy yourself. If you don’t like the type of candy you’ve bought, you won’t feel like you’re missing out!

Bring a healthy snack to the party.

Everyone loves a good costume party at Halloween. However, parties generally equal a variety of unhealthy, rich foods or baked goods. If you’re heading to a party this season, offer to bring a more nutritious option that’s part of your diet for diabetes already. This way, you know there will be at least one healthy snack you can enjoy that can help you eat less of those sugary treats.

Choose your treats wisely.

Again, you don’t necessarily have to deny yourself all the treats of the season. However, try to choose them wisely. For instance, go for “fun-size” candy bars instead of full-size, sugar-free gummy bears, dark chocolate, or hard candy.

Stick to your eating routine as much as possible.

When in doubt, stick to your recommended diet for diabetes and your normal eating routine. Eat a healthy and fulfilling breakfast, lunch and dinner to stay satisfied and keep you away from those sugary goodies calling your name. The less hungry you are, the more willpower you’ll have to make those smarter choices.

 

The Main Risk Factors for Diabetes

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bigstock Young woman doing blood test f 136609631 300x200 - The Main Risk Factors for DiabetesAccording to the National Diabetes Statistics Report from 2014, 9.3 percent of the entire population in the United States has diabetes. That’s over 29 million people in the country, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, with diabetes.

Having type 2 diabetes means your body isn’t using insulin the way it should. This is called insulin resistance, and to combat it, your pancreas makes extra insulin. However, over time the pancreas will no longer be able to keep up; it will not be able to produce the amount of insulin your body requires to keep blood glucose at the right levels.

Who is Most at Risk for Diabetes?

It’s important to know some of the main diabetes risk factors to know if there’s a possibility you could develop the disease. Getting the proper diagnosis early, along with making certain lifestyle changes, can help reduce your risk and avoid the complications that come with type 2 diabetes.

Some of main risk factors for developing diabetes include:

Family History: If diabetes runs in your family, and you had a parent or sibling who had type 2 diabetes, your risk increases.

Being Overweight: If you’re overweight, especially around your waist, you are more at risk for diabetes. The extra fatty tissue makes your cells more resistant to insulin.

Level of Activity: Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases the less active you are. It’s never too late to start adding exercise to your daily routine to help control your weight. Plus, physical activity uses up glucose as energy, making your cells more sensitive to insulin.

Age: Those over the age of 45 are more at risk for diabetes, and the risk increases the older you get. This could be due to the fact that you become less active as you age, losing muscle mass and gaining more weight.

Race: While it’s not clear why, diabetes is more common among African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.

High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is linked to an increased risk for diabetes, especially when blood pressure is over 140/90 mm Hg.

Prediabetes: When your blood sugar levels are above normal, but you don’t yet have diabetes, this means you have prediabetes. Making lifestyle changes like increasing exercise and altering your diet can help avoid prediabetes turning into type 2 diabetes.

Low Good Cholesterol Level/High Triglyceride Level: If your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is lower than it should be, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood, and if triglyceride levels are high, you’re also more at risk.

Gestational Diabetes: If you had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, or delivered a baby over nine pounds, you are more likely to get diabetes in the future.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in women that is characterized by irregular menstrual periods, obesity and hair growth, and has been known to increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to visit your doctor regularly, especially if you’ve been experiencing any of the signs of diabetes, like sudden weight gain, increased feelings of thirst and tiredness, increased urination, pain or numbing in your legs and feet, blurry vision, etc. Your doctor can assess your risk for diabetes and create a plan to keep you in the best health possible.

 

Avoiding Eye Complications from Diabetes

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bigstock Female ophthalmologist determi 117181967 300x200 - Avoiding Eye Complications from DiabetesWhen you have diabetes, you already know you are at a higher risk for certain complications when it comes to your eyesight. While you have an increased chance for blindness over someone without diabetes, most diabetics generally only suffer minor vision problems.

However, having chronically high blood sugar can lead to diabetic eye disease, as it can cause damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina. High blood sugar can also cause blurry vision and an array of other issues.

Common Diabetic Eye Problems

A few of the most common diabetic eye problems include:

Cataracts: Cataracts cloud the lens of your eye, making it difficult to see clearly and focus. Although plenty of people who don’t have diabetes get cataracts, diabetics are 60 percent more likely to develop them, especially at a younger age. They will also progress faster in someone with diabetes.

Glaucoma: Those with diabetes are 40 percent more likely to suffer from glaucoma, a complicated disease that is caused by increased pressure in the eye that ultimately leads to blindness. It can be difficult to diagnose glaucoma because there are generally very few recognizable symptoms.

Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision impairment and blindness in those with diabetes. This diabetic eye disease can start off mild, where blood vessels in the retina leak fluid or bleed. In the advanced stage, new, abnormal blood vessels increase in number on the surface of the retina, leading to loss of cells and scarring.

Diabetic macular edema (DME): DME is the buildup of fluid in the macula, a region of the eye within the retina. In those with diabetic retinopathy, DME is the most common cause of vision loss.

How to Avoid Diabetic Eye Disease

By visiting your eye doctor regularly, you can keep these diabetic eye problems from escalating. A routine visit to the eye doctor for a person with diabetes includes a comprehensive dilated eye exam so the ophthalmologist can thoroughly examine the retina and optic nerve for any signs of damage. A few other tips to keep your eyes healthy include:

Keep blood sugar levels in check.

High blood sugar affects the shape of your eye’s lens, which can make your vision blurry. When blood sugar levels go back to normal, your vision will clear. Plus, high blood sugar can also cause damage to the eye’s blood vessels. If you’re maintaining your blood sugar levels, you can avoid these types of problems.

Manage your blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, elevated blood pressure increases blood flow to the eye and can escalate the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Controlling high blood pressure will lower this risk, or reduce the worsening of existing retinopathy even more so than maintaining your blood sugar levels.

Live a healthy lifestyle.

Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet can also help decrease your risk for diabetic eye problems. Plus, if you are a smoker, it’s time to quit. Smoking constricts blood vessels, which raises your blood pressure and prohibits the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to the eye (called retinal hypoxia). Quitting smoking is the best thing a diabetic can do to prevent eye problems, as well as prevent a variety of other health issues.

If you have diabetes and experience any change in your vision, make an appointment to see your doctor immediately. Finding problems as early as possible makes treatment easier and more effective.

 

The Latest from the National Institutes of Health on Diabetes

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bigstock diabetes 300x198 - The Latest from the National Institutes of Health on DiabetesOver the past 60 years or so, we’ve learned a lot about type 2 diabetes. In 1952, the first federal research grants were funded by the American Diabetes Association, and just a few years later the first oral medications to treat the condition were made available to the public. Then in 1970, the first glucose meter was developed by the Ames Company, making checking blood sugar levels easier for diabetes sufferers.

Since then, more research has been conducted continually, helping us learn more about this disease and the risk factors involved, as well as prevention and management tips. However, despite the strides in research that have been made, as of 2011, type 2 diabetes still affects more than 29 million people and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. This is why these studies continue to be so important in the years ahead.

Recent Research Surrounding Type 2 Diabetes

Today, monitoring type 2 diabetes can be done through blood sugar tests done conveniently at home. As more studies continue to be done surrounding the condition, new and more effective treatments, as well as better prevention methods, will emerge.

In late 2016, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the development of a new task force, established to “coordinate and accelerate progress in nutrition research across the NIH and guide the development for the first NIH-wide strategic plan for nutrition research for the next 10 years.” Because nutrition is a major component in managing diabetes, this research will provide more insight into controlling the condition. The task force will be led by Griffin P. Rodgers, the director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the branch of the NIH that conducts research on diabetes and other related conditions.

In the NIDDK’s 2017 Recent Advances and Emerging Opportunities report, issued annually since 2001, more recent diabetes research has been compiled regarding insulin and beta cells, a type of cell found in the pancreas that make up around 65-80 percent of the cells in the islets. What was discovered is that the human pancreas has four separate subtypes of beta cells, and that the islets from people with type 2 diabetes have abnormal percentages of the different subtypes. Researchers then examined how these newly discovered subtypes functioned, and they found that insulin secretion in response to glucose did differ among them. This discovery could ultimately lead to new treatment based on the subtype differences quickly emerging.

The report also discusses the role obesity plays in type 2 diabetes. It was found that obesity causes an inflammatory response that drastically affects metabolic health. As the body tries to combat obesity by triggering inflammation, this can lead to a shift in the metabolic “set point” that maintains weight and blood glucose at heightened levels, which can ultimately result in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

In addition to diabetes research from the NIDDK and the NIH, in 2016 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also announced their Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program, which would encourage both employers and insurers to institute diabetes prevention strategies with the goal of providing community-based programming and intervention that keeps people as healthy as possible by preventing the onset of diabetes.

 

What Causes Diabetes?

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bigstock Friendly Senior Doctor Talking 168257840 300x158 - What Causes Diabetes?Diabetes is a chronic condition in which there are abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood. There are two forms of diabetes – type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is known as an autoimmune disease, and it occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Scientists still don’t know why the immune system sees those cells in the pancreas as foreign, but without insulin, sugar builds up in the blood and starves the cells of it. This can cause irreparable damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes and nerves when left untreated.

Of the two forms of diabetes, type 2 is the most common. Usually known as “adult onset” diabetes, it occurs most often in people ages 35 and over. Unlike type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 can produce some of their own insulin. However, it’s often not enough, or the insulin that is produced still will not allow glucose to enter the cells.

Type 2 diabetes often can occur among people who are overweight, obese, or live a sedentary lifestyle. Diabetes symptoms include issues like sudden weight gain, pain or numbing of the extremities, blurry vision, extreme thirst or increased tiredness.

Common Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes may result when the body insufficiently produces insulin; there’s an absence of insulin altogether; or the body has an inability to use insulin properly. The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, which is a condition when the liver, muscle and fat cells do not use insulin as they should. The pancreas tries to keep up by producing more insulin to help glucose enter cells, but over time it simply can’t produce enough. This results in rising blood glucose levels.

However, some people may be predisposed to diabetes for the following factors:

Genetics and family history. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be caused by certain genetic factors, including obesity. Plus, certain ethnic and racial groups are more prone to developing diabetes, especially African-Americans, American Indians, Hispanics and Latinos, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Lack of physical activity and unhealthy diet. Living a sedentary lifestyle could greatly contribute to developing type 2 diabetes. Plus, eating an unhealthy diet filled with high fat foods and little fiber can increase the risk.

Being overweight or obese. An unhealthy lifestyle is one of the most common causes of type 2 diabetes. When you’re overweight, your body is even more likely to become insulin resistant. Plus, the location of fat on your body can also make a difference. For example, extra fat around the belly has been linked to insulin resistance.

Knowing the common causes of type 2 diabetes and recognizing the warning signs can help you make changes to your lifestyle and prevent diabetes.