Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer
Since the discovery of insulin in 1921, managing diabetes has
become more effective than ever. Today, with care, most diabetics
can lead productive lives.
Normally, your body changes sugars and starch into glucose (a
simple sugar), which serves as fuel. When diabetes develops, the
amount of glucose in the blood may become dangerously high
because insulin (the substance that controls glucose levels) is
in short supply. Diabetics either don't produce enough insulin or
their bodies don't respond to the insulin as they should; that's
why they have to take insulin by injection or another medication
by mouth to help the body secrete more of its own insulin.
To help you recognize the warning signs of diabetes, the
American Diabetes Association uses the acronyms DIABETES and
A family history of diabetes
B lurred vision
E xcessive weight
T ingling, numbness, or pain in extremities
E asy fatigue
S kin infection, slow healing of cuts and
scratches, especially on the feet
Other signs are:
C onstant urination
A bnormal thirst
U nusual hunger
T he rapid loss of weight
O bvious weakness and fatigue
N ausea and vomiting
You don't necessarily have to experience all of these warning
signs to be diabetic; only one or two may be present. Some people
show no warning signs whatsoever and find out they're diabetic
after a routine blood test. So if you have a family history of
diabetes, you should be especially watchful of the signs and
symptoms mentioned before. If you notice any of those signs
report them to your doctor. Being overweight increases your risk
significantly. A diet high in sugar and low in fiber may increase
your risk as well. Pregnancy can trigger diabetes in some women.
There are two forms of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is more severe and usually shows up before the
age of 40. Insulin injections as well as dietary control and
excercise are essential.
Type 2 diabetes is less severe and affects people who are
older and overweight. This type is most often treated with diet
and exercise and sometimes oral medicine. Occasional insulin
injections may be required as well.