November is National Diabetes Month, a time to share education and innovation across industries on behalf of those who suffer with diabetes - a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. It affects the millions around the world with symptoms of pain, discomfort, and a decrease in quality of life.
In the United States alone, 34.2 million people of all ages - over 10% of the US population - have diabetes. One in five don't even know they have it. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the US, and the first cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult blindness. Unfortunately, in the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled.
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Individuals diagnosed with type 1 don’t produce insulin, which is needed for the body to metabolize glucose in the bloodstream, and is used as energy. Without insulin, the bloodstream levels of glucose remain high, which can lead to health complications. The cause of type 1 is not known, though may be caused by an immune reaction. This only affects an estimated 5% of those with diabetes. The other 95% is accounted for with type 2.
The normal function of the body is to create insulin to metabolize the glucose in the bloodstream. Over time, the insulin production may not respond as quickly or correctly as before, which can lead to long lasting high blood sugar levels. Type 2 affects millions of people with symptoms such as:
Unexplained weight loss
Presence of ketones in the urine
If left untreated, it can be life threatening. However, it is able to be managed for some through lifestyle changes such as nutrition and exercise. For others, the supplement of insulin and other medications assists the natural process. The risks of developing the disease increase under the following conditions:
If you have prediabetes
Are 45 years or older
Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
Are physically active less than 3 times a week
Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)
If you have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
You can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating healthier, and maintaining regular physical activity. More on this below.
For those with type 2, the primary risk factor is the development of prediabetes, which can take years and go unnoticed. It is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 88 million American adults (more than 1 in 3) have prediabetes.
As with most chronic conditions, early prevention is key. Though there is no cure for diabetes, losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active may reverse the development of prediabetes. If you notice any possible diabetes symptoms, contact your doctor. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.
A diagnosis for prediabetes does not mean you have type 2, and your treatment plan can make a difference in management or prevention. There are many factors you can control. The risks of prediabetes increase for those who are:
Are 45 or older
Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
Have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
Are physically inactive
Have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure
Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
Had diabetes during pregnancy
A key part of managing type 2 diabetes is maintaining a healthy diet. Eating healthy doesn’t mean it has to taste bland, you’ll just need to find the right combination of flavors and nutrients. Work to find helpful tips and diet plans that best suit your new lifestyle. This can include online resources or finding a local nutritionist consultant. Eating healthy is how you can make your nutritional intake work the hardest for you.
Fitness is another key to managing type 2. The most important part is to simply get moving. Walking, cycling, or swimming are low-impact activities to increase heart rate and move your body in the right direction. Find the activity you enjoy and be consistent in making the exercise happen. No matter your fitness level, a few minutes of activity every day can help you put yourself in charge of your health.
PAIN RELIEF FOR DIABETES
At Incrediwear, we hear about the positive impacts our wearable technology has on those who have diabetes or prediabetes. The increased circulation from the sleeves, paired with increasing physical activity, can be the solution you’ve been looking for to help you live a healthy lifestyle. Here’s what we recommend for those who live with diabetes and are looking for pain relief.