This April, the World Health Organization (WHO) shone a light on diabetes during the celebration of World Health Day on April 7, promoting its awareness and prevention. According to statistics presented by the WHO on its first Global report on diabetes, this disease is on the rise, and the numbers are alarming. Over 422 million adults have diabetes, almost quadrupled since 1980, causing 1.5 million deaths in 2012 alone.
This summary of facts about this disease will help you recognize its causes, symptoms and ways to avoid it. Remember, a medical doctor is the only one that can diagnose a disease, but since most cases of diabetes can be prevented by making changes in our lifestyle, and death and serious complications delayed if the disease is diagnosed, treated and managed early, we consider this information vital.
For the producer, knowing the particulars of diabetes is also essential when assessing a new client. Click here to learn about underwriting for diabetes.
What is diabetes?
It is a disease in which the level of sugar or glucose in the blood is above normal. This can be due to lack of insulin in the body, a hormone produced by the pancreas to help glucose get into the body cells, or because the cells in the body don’t use it correctly.
There are 3 types of diabetes
- Type 1 Diabetes:
- The pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
- Usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, known in the past as Juvenile Diabetes.
- It appears suddenly. Symptoms include excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue.
- It accounts for 10% of all cases.
- Its onset is unrelated to lifestyle. Therefore, it cannot be prevented.
- Type 2 Diabetes:
- The body cells fail to respond correctly to insulin in the body.
- It is usually diagnosed in adulthood, but it is now also occurring in children.
- It appears gradually. Symptoms may be similar to those of Type 1 diabetes, but are often less marked. As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years after onset, once complications have already arisen.
- It accounts for 90% of all cases.
- Its onset is related to lifestyle factors and genetic predisposition.
- Developing this type of diabetes can be prevented. You can prevent type 2 diabetes by staying at a healthy body weight, eating healthy foods, controlling your portions and leading an active lifestyle.
- Gestational Diabetes:
- Occurs in pregnant women without a history of diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes is diagnosed through prenatal screening, rather than through reported symptoms.
- It usually resolves after delivery.
- Must be carefully monitored by a doctor during pregnancy.
(Video from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC))
Learn about Diabetes Insipidus (This disease is not related to diabetes, and it is an AUTOMATIC REJECTION)
Tips for Teens with Diabetes (download the CDC Brochure)