Let's review a few things you should know about diabetes.
1. Type I diabetes is typically diagnosed in children or young adults, which is why it was formerly known as juvenile onset diabetes. With Type 1, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone needed to breakdown the carbohydrates you eat into glucose. Glucose is the body's most efficient form of energy.
2. Type 2, previously known as adult-onset diabetes, is when the body no longer makes enough insulin, or your tissues are insensitive to it. When insulin isn't around to take glucose into the cells, it builds up in the bloodstream causing hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Over time, this leads to diabetes complications. Type 2- diabetes is the most common form, and is often left undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless.
3. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy, but does not necessarily mean the mother will have diabetes after the baby is born.
4. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the body is beginning to become resistant to the insulin it makes. Blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.
Type 1: • Frequent urination • Unusual thirst • Extreme hunger • Unexplained weight loss • Extreme fatigue and irritability
Type 2: all of the above, plus • Frequent infections • Blurred vision • Slow healing cuts or bruises • Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
Incidence and prevalence: • In 2007, 23.6 million adults and children in the United States had diabetes. An estimated 5.7 million people were undiagnosed and an additional 57 million people were pre-diabetic. • Incidence: 1.6 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year in people aged 20 years and older. Diabetes is diagnosed using the following tests: • A fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test measures blood glucose in a person who has not eaten anything for at least 8 hours. • The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) measures blood glucose after a person fasts at least 8 hours, then again 2 hours after the person drinks a glucose-containing beverage. • A random plasma glucose test, can measure a person's blood glucose at any time regardless of the last time the person ate or drank. This test is used to diagnose diabetes along with an assessment of other symptoms and should be repeated on another day. Complications include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, and death. • Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2006. This ranking is based on the 72,507 death certificates in 2006 in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death. Nutrition implications: Good nutrition habits are key to managing diabetes. What you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are most important to maintaining blood sugar control. Carbohydrate-containing foods should be closely monitored, but it doesn't mean they are off limits for diabetics. Cost: The total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007 was $174 billion. Factoring in the additional costs of undiagnosed diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes brings the total cost to $218 billion.
Where to go for more information: • www.diabetes.org (American Diabetes Association website) o My Health Advisor can help calculate your risk for diabetes. o My Food Advisor is an online nutrition tool for patients with diabetes or those looking to lose weight. This interactive tool can compares the nutrient content of foods, suggest healthier alternatives, and analyze what you currently eat. • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases • Check out the American Diabetes Month Fact Sheet • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.