What You Need to Know
Diabetes affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas that helps carry glucose (blood sugar) into the body’s cells, where it can be used for energy. Men with diabetes either cannot produce enough insulin to process sugar, or cannot correctly use the insulin they do have.
Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Infection of the lower limbs that may lead to amputation
- Damage to the peripheral nervous system
While there is no cure for diabetes, it can be successfully managed. Diabetes researchers have made significant advancements in the understanding and treatment of the disease.
Through proper management techniques, including diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and medication if needed, people with diabetes can lead full, healthy lives and even reverse their diabetes in some cases.
Are you at risk?
A number of factors raise your risk for diabetes, such as a family history of the disease, being overweight, lack of exercise, poor diet and the type of diabetes itself.
- Type 1 diabetes occurs most often in children and young adults. It is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys its own insulin-producing cells. People with type 1 diabetes must use insulin every day to keep their bodies functioning properly.
- Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, affects 90 percent of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes. While type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, it is on the rise in younger adults and children. Excess weight is one of the main causes; as obesity levels are increasing in the United States, so is type 2 diabetes and its associated complications.
Warning signs and symptoms
Early detection of diabetes is key to preventing complications later on. Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst or hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Increased fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Frequent infections or wounds that do not heal
If you have any of these symptoms, contact your physician right away.
- You can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight and a regular exercise program — even walking for 30 minutes a day can help.
- If you are concerned about your risk, talk to your physician. For a referral, call 1-800-SCRIPPS (800-727-4777) or see our doctor finder.
- Contact Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute to have a diabetes education referral order form sent to your doctor.
Founded in 1981, Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute is Southern California’s
leading diabetes center of excellence. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with diabetes through innovative education programs, clinical care, research and collaborations that pursue prevention and a cure.