November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to learn more about the disease that affects more than 30 million adults in the United States.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how the body converts food into energy. The disease increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, lower-limb amputation and blindness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Symptoms may include frequent urination, blurry vision, unexplained weight loss, extreme thirst or hunger and numb or tingling hands or feet. If you experience symptoms, see your health care provider to test your blood sugar levels.
There are several different forms of diabetes, including Type 1, which occurs when the body stops making insulin and requires daily doses of insulin to survive. Type 1 diabetes often develops quickly and is diagnosed earlier in life in children, teens and young adults.
With Type 2 diabetes, the body is unable to maintain blood sugar at normal levels. This condition is present in as many as 95 percent of adults with diabetes, but it can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes.
Other types of diabetes include gestational diabetes, which develops in pregnant women, and prediabetes, which occurs when blood sugar is higher than normal but is not elevated enough to be diagnosed as Type 2.
There is no cure for diabetes. However, regular exercise, eating healthy food, taking medicine as needed, self-management education and support, and monitoring your health care can help to prevent or reverse diabetes.
The CDC website and the USPS November Wellness Toolkit have additional information.
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