Michele Oseroff, RN, women’s health nurse navigator at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, talks about the different types of diabetes and what you can do to prevent it.
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases today and currently affects about 24 million Americans of every race, gender and ethnicity. There are different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food (carbohydrates) into energy needed for daily life. Only 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children with this disease can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy, happy lives.
- Gestational diabetes, diabetes that develops during pregnancy, is relatively common and affects about 4 percent of all pregnant women. If untreated, gestational diabetes can cause serious complications for your baby, but with proper prenatal care, it can be detected and treated. Gestational diabetes puts women at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Type 2 diabetes strikes people of all ages, and early symptoms are subtle. This chronic disease affects the body’s ability to use the carbohydrates in food for energy resulting in elevated blood sugar. Over time, this excess of blood sugar raises the risk for heart disease, loss of vision, nerve and organ damage and other serious conditions. Many people don’t know they have type 2 diabetes. Untreated, there may be an increase in thirst, dry mouth, increased appetite, frequent urination and unusual weight loss or gain.
Type 2 diabetes is serious, life altering and often preventable: eat a healthy diet, exercise for 30 minutes 5 times per week, maintain a healthy weight and talk to your health care provider about being screened for prediabetes.
Take advantage of the spring weather and longer days by getting out with the family for evening walks after dinner. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet as they become more available this season.
To learn more about what you can do to prevent diabetes, call me at 443-777-4GPS (4477). I can connect you with our Diabetes Education Center, a primary care provider, a health care specialist for weight management or any other type of care provider you or a family member may need.