One of the most serious (and misunderstood) diseases that affects our country today is type II diabetes. While many people may not understand exactly what type II diabetes is, it is actually quite simple: "Type II diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose)- your body's main source of fuel" (Mayo Clinic, 2006). Type II diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, with approximately 90 to 95% of the 21 million Americans who suffer from diabetes have type II diabetes. It has been estimated that one-third of people with type II are not aware that they have it; if it goes undiagnosed for a long period of time the disease can become life-threatening (Mayo Clinic, 2006).
There are several risk factors in developing type II diabetes, which can include weight, inactivity, family history, age, race, gestational diabetes, and depression. Overweight people (especially those who carry the extra weight around their midsection) are said to be especially at risk for the disease. Severely inactive people, those with a history of type II diabetes in the family, people over the age of 45, and women who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant are also at risk (Mayo Clinic, 2006).
While it is important to note that type II diabetes develops slowly, if one or more of the above-mentioned risk factors apply to any person, they should be on the lookout for the common symptoms of type II diabetes. These symptoms can include flu-like symptoms, weight fluctuations, blurred vision, slow-healing sores or frequent infections, nerve damage, and red, swollen, or tender gums. The earliest warning signs for type II are said to be increased thirst and frequent urination, "because excess glucose circulating in your body draws water from your tissues, making you feel dehydrated. To quench your thirst, you may drink more water and other beverages which leads to more frequent urination" (Mayo Clinic 2006).
Clearly, prevention is extremely important in the battle against type II diabetes. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the single-most important factor people can control, which means eating healthy foods (foods low in fat and calories), getting plenty of physical activity (30 minutes per day), and losing excess pounds (even losing 10 pounds can help). These methods can also type II sufferers from developing more serious problems later on down the road (Mayo Clinic. 2006).
Both people who know they have type II diabetes are people who are unaware can develop serious complications from the disease, particularly if it is not treated properly. Complications that can arise from type II diabetes include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye complications, nerve damage, foot problems, skin complications, and depression. By keeping their blood sugar as close to normal as possible, people with type II diabetes can drastically reduce their risks for these painful complications (American Diabetes Association...