This is an annual campaign to bring awareness to the rising prevalence of diabetes, associated symptoms and risk factors, and to promote healthy lifestyle changes that prevent diabetes and its complications. Diabetes is a disease that occurs when a person’s body isn't able to move blood sugar into the cells for energy. This results in a buildup of extra sugar in the bloodstream. Over time, having high blood sugar levels damages the body and causes many of the complications of diabetes.
When you eat carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, or bread, your body breaks this down into blood sugar(glucose). When glucose is in your bloodstream, it needs help to get inside your body's cells, the same way a key is used to open a locked door. This key is insulin, a hormone made by your pancreas. If the body cannot make or use insulin well, the glucose cannot enter the cells and stays in the blood stream causing blood glucose levels to rise. With diabetes, over time, high levels of glucose in the blood can cause serious problems, such as damage to the heart, kidneys, nerves, blood vessels and eyes.
The two most common types are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas either makes no insulin or not enough insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the most common type, the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or your body’s cells don’t respond to it and can’t use it as it normally should. Another type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which can occur during pregnancy and is associated with complications that affect both the mother and her baby.
Prediabetes is a condition occurring when a person’s blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes, and puts them at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC):
If you have risk factors such as having a family member with diabetes, or are overweight, discuss diabetes screening with your health care provider. Although there is no cure, getting an early diagnosis and managing blood sugar levels by adopting a healthy lifestyle levels with exercise, diet, and maintaining a healthy weight, can help prevent serious health problems in the future.
For more information, see the PCHC Diabetes Guide and Diabetes Health Promotion Activity Plan (HPAP)