Diabetes is a disease that, according to the American Diabetes Association, affects 7.8 percent of the American population. Diabetes does not have a cure, but can be managed through proper treatment, diet and medication. If you exhibit the signs and symptoms of diabetes, see a doctor for a test -- the earlier diabetes is caught, the better it can be managed.
There are three major types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational. Type 1 occurs when the pancreas is unable to create insulin; it is classified as an autoimmune disease. Type 2 is the most common and happens when the pancreas is still able to produce insulin, but the body fails to recognize it. Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women and often goes away after the baby is born.
Signs of Diabetes
There are several symptoms common to all forms of diabetes: thirst or hunger that goes beyond the normal limits, unexplained and sudden weight loss, urinating often, eye issues including blurred sight, and topical injuries that take a long time to heal. If you display these signs, you should see a doctor.
Risk Factors for Diabetes
You are at risk for type 2 diabetes if you have a family history of the disease, are over 45 years of age, are Hispanic, black, Native American or Asian, have metabolic syndrome, are overweight, have abnormal cholesterol levels or have a history of gestational diabetes.
Causes of Diabetes
In cases of type 2 diabetes, obesity is often a contributing factor. Also a problem are the lifestyle factors that lead to being overweight: poor diet, lack of exercise and unhealthy habits. Although obesity is not a definitive cause of the disease, it is a significant factor in favor of diabetes.
Complications of Diabetes
Patients with diabetes must be careful about their feet; nerve damage can make it difficult to identify issues. In addition, people with diabetes can be more vulnerable to infections, heart disease, skin problems, eye problems and high blood pressure.