Did you know there are about 23.6 million Americans who are suffering from diabetes? That's close to 8 percent of the U.S. population. Every year, this figure increases by around 1.6 million as more people aged 20 and above are diagnosed with this condition.
Diabetes is a serious, lifelong disorder of metabolism, which has three main types:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is mainly an autoimmune disease, which involves the body's system that fights infection. However, this time the immune system is turning against the body. Its symptoms include increased hunger or thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision, weight loss and extreme fatigue. If left untreated, this could lead to a life-threatening diabetic coma.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting around 90 percent to 95 percent of all diabetics. Risk factors include obesity, old age, ethnicity, genetics, medical history of gestational diabetes and lack of physical activity. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to the symptoms of type 1 diabetes but with the addition of susceptibility to infection and slow healing of wounds.
Gestational diabetes generally develops during pregnancy. However, this condition particularly affects African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians more. Women with a family history of diabetes are also more prone to the condition.