It is estimated that about 11.3% of the US population (about 37.3 million people) have diabetes; that’s 1 in 10 Americans. Studies show 8.5 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes. In the United States, approximately 5-10% of the population with diagnosed diabetes have type 1 diabetes; approximately 90-95% has type 2 diabetes. Other, rare types of diabetes also exist at a rate that is difficult to accurately estimate.
Your body needs energy to perform daily activities. This energy comes from foods containing protein, fats, and carbohydrates that are broken down by the body and changed into glucose (blood sugars). Insulin is a hormone that is needed by the body to utilize glucose. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot make use of the glucose in the blood, either because the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin (Type 1) or the insulin produced is not used effectively, resulting in high blood sugar (Type 2).
The goal of treatment for all types of diabetes is to keep the glucose within a normal range. Diabetes can often be controlled with diet and exercise alone, although some people may need oral medications or insulin injections. Research has shown that keeping glucose levels close to normal may help prevent or delay complications such as eye, heart, kidney and nerve damage. Balancing diet, exercise and medication is the key to good control. Daily monitoring of blood glucose levels is essential. Use the results from your glucose monitor as a tool to gauge how your body is doing throughout the day. By managing your life and illness today, you will reduce the complications of diabetes tomorrow.