There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, in which the pancreas stops producing insulin; Type 2 in which the body becomes insulin resistant and the pancreas can’t keep up with the increased demand and Gestational Diabetes, when hormonal changes can make a pregnant woman’s body insulin resistant. While all three can be managed, only Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. People who are at high risk for Type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes.
November is American Diabetes Month.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. One in 12 Americans has diabetes – that’s more than 25 million people. Another 79 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects older adults. Approximately 25% of Americans over the age of 60 years have the condition, and the aging of the U.S. population is widely acknowledged as one of the drivers of the diabetes epidemic.
However, everyone, regardless of age, should take steps to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 was previously known as adult onset diabetes, but has been increasingly occurring in children and teens in recent years. Thus, everyone can benefit from eating more healthfully and increasing physical activity. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your risk factors for diabetes as well.
Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is the Director of Health Communication at Southeast Missouri State University.