Dr. Anne Peters (pictured below) blogs about the different types of diabetes, and about what happened to Costas on tonight's episode of 'Chasing Maria Menounos'
Diabetes is an epidemic both in the United States and around the world. It is a very serious health problem because it can lead to blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart disease, stroke and many other issues. Fortunately, all of these complications are preventable, but it takes hard work to stay healthy with diabetes.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 2 is the most common type and is found in approximately 25 million Americans. It is the type often linked with being overweight and inactive, it tends to run in families and used to be called “adult onset” diabetes. Over 75 million people have prediabetes, which means that if they get proper medical care they can PREVENT the development of diabetes. Once someone develops type 2 diabetes, in addition to exercise and weight loss, they can be given oral and injectable medications to control blood sugar levels.
Maria’s father has what is known as type 1 diabetes (formerly juvenile diabetes). Fewer people in the US have type 1 diabetes – somewhere between 1 – 2 million individuals. People with type 1 diabetes must give themselves insulin many times each day in order to mimic what a normal person’s pancreas would do. This is very hard to do because it requires figuring out the right insulin dose based on the food about to be eaten as well as other facts such as the level of physical exercise or stress. If a person gives too little insulin their blood sugar levels go to high and over time they run the risk of getting the complications of diabetes. If too much insulin is given, as Costas often gives, the blood sugar level suddenly falls and the person can lose consciousness, have seizures and even die. This is called hypoglycemia.
People with type 1 diabetes walk a tight rope between low and high blood sugar levels. In the past people with type 1 diabetes died young but now they are living into old age in countries where they can receive good medical care. We are only beginning to learn how to help older individuals live long and healthy lives with type 1 diabetes. People like Costas are showing us the way, even as we try to help him stay safe.
Useful links about diabetes:
American Diabetes Association (for information about type 1 and type 2 diabetes): www.diabetes.org
JDRF (information about type 1 diabetes): www.jrdf.org
National Diabetes Education Program (education information about types 1 and 2 diabetes): www.ndep.nih.gov
Glu (an on-line type 1 diabetes community funded by the Helmsley Trust): www.myglu.org
Learn about donating funds to distribute pumps to older people with diabetes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb-iaqNnqW0&feature=youtu.be