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Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic illness that occurs when your body cannot make or properly use insulin. Insulin is the hormone your body uses to break down sugar and fat.

There are 2 types of diabetes:

  • Type 1, which happens most often in children and young adults, occurs when the body does not produce insulin.
  • Type 2, the most common type, occurs when the body cannot properly use the insulin it produces.

There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes, but type 2 diabetes is both preventable and controllable.

When diabetes is controlled, people can live healthy lives. But if it goes uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to many very serious health problems and life-changing results. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to:

  • Heart attacks
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Leg amputations

The odds of developing type 2 diabetes are determined partly by genes and partly by lifestyle. Some healthy lifestyle choices may help prevent the disease, even if you already have prediabetes. Prediabetes is characterized by higher than normal blood sugar levels that are not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. People can delay and possibly prevent the disease by losing weight, exercising and eating healthier.

Early symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Weight loss, fatigue and drowsiness
  • Frequent skin, gum, bladder or vaginal infections
  • Slow healing of cuts and bruises
  • Blurred vision
  • Numb hands or feet

There is no cure for diabetes, and it often strikes without warning. Many of the symptoms may be so mild that they go unnoticed. That's why it's important to get screened for the disease on a regular basis.

For more information about diabetes and other health conditions, members may log in to Blue Access for Members.

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