Diabetes comes in all shapes and sizes — like many other diseases it isn’t one to discriminate. According to the Discover Diabetes Study, 1 in 11 people are living with diabetes right now. Even some of the healthiest people are diabetic; in fact, diabetics are often the most in-tune with their bodies. Some of the characteristics of diabetes might even surprise you.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin (T1D), or the body cannot live off the insulin that it does create (T2D). Insulin, the hormone made by the pancreas, helps the glucose in your blood to be used for energy. Thus, diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose level (or blood sugar level) is higher than it should be. As a result of high blood sugar a person may experience the following symptoms;

  • increased thirst and urination
  • increased hunger
  • fatigue
  • blurred vision
  • numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • sores that do not heal
  • unexplained weight loss

How does one develop diabetes?

There are number causes that lead to a person developing diabetes. The different types of diabetes are determined by how the disease is developed. For example, Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is often trigged genetically, or by environmental factors like viruses – where Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is most often developed as a result of high blood pressure by those who are overweight or obese due to lack of physical activity.

Now that’s we’ve addressed the different types of diabetes let’s look a little closer.

The most common types of diabetes are T1D, T2D, gestational, and pre-diabetes.

T1D – this type of diabetes can develop at any age but is most frequently developed in children and adolescent adults. Daily insulin injections and constant monitoring are required for those who have T1D.

T2D – this type of diabetes is most common in adults. This type of diabetes is most often a result of weight and treatment plans often focus on improving aspects of one’s lifestyle specifically diet and exercise. Overtime this type of diabetes will require treatment in the shape of oral drugs or insulin injections to control glucose levels.

Pre-diabetes – Pre-diabetes is a condition in which someone has higher than “normal” blood sugar levels. Pre-diabetes often progresses to T2D if not treated once addressed. Thankfully, pre-diabetes isn’t always a predecessor for T2D if appropriate action is taken. Simple lifestyle changes can be extremely helpful in reducing one’s likelihood of progression to T2D.

Gestational – (GDM) is a type of diabetes in which a woman experiences high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. This can result in complications for both the mother and child. It must be monitored throughout the pregnancy and all women are tested early on to determine if they have it or not. As a result of gestational diabetes, the child has a higher risk of developing T2D later in life.

Ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes

Like many other diseases and injuries your risk of diabetes decreases as you work to improve your diet and exercise regimen. We recommend exercising a minimum of 30 minutes for 5 days a week. Keep in mind that simple and gradual changes often help make the biggest changes. Things like parking your car further away and adding more vegetables to your lunch and dinner plans are great ways to get started. There are also lots of great tools like mobile applications to help you track your activity and exercise along with your food intake. Smart scales are also great tools for measuring and understanding your body’s makeup of muscle, fat, bone and more.