Diabetes: Not a Good Look
Written By: DeVita W

Diabetes is a chronic illness defined as a disease in which the blood contains high levels of glucose (sugar). Diabetes is caused by a resistance to insulin, too little insulin, or a combination of the two. Insulin is a hormone produced within cells of the pancreas to break down glucose in the bloodstream and move it into fat, muscle, and liver cells. The glucose will then be used as a fuel source for your body.

Although there are millions of Americans diagnosed with diabetes, African Americans are affected at a greater rate than other ethnicities. This community is twice as likely to be diagnosed and suffer major complications. Statistically, about 25% of all African Americans between the ages of 64 and 74 have diabetes and one in four black women between the ages of 55 and 65 have this disease.

The classifications of diabetes are Type I, Type II, and gestational. Type I diabetes is generally diagnosed during childhood and is less common than Type II. In this case, the body produces little to no insulin, and it is believed that genetics, viruses, and autoimmune problems may play a part in the development of the disease. In Type II diabetes the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to keep glucose levels stable and often the body does not respond well to insulin. This type is typically diagnosed during adulthood. Gestational diabetes may develop during pregnancy in women who weren't diabetic before. This form of diabetes usually disappears within six months after giving birth.

Diabetic symptoms include but are not limited to:
  • Blurry vision
  • Hunger
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
Increased diabetic risk factors include:
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • 45 and older
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels
Diabetes can damage and destroy blood vessels and nerves, decreasing the body’s ability to fight off infection. It may also lead to death of skin and tissue cells which may not be visible until infection occurs.

The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping blood sugar levels in the range of:
  • 80-120 mg/dL before meals
  • 100-140 mg/dL at bedtime

It is important to recognize the signs of low blood sugar. You will experience symptoms such as confusion, convulsions, double vision, weakness, lack of coordination, dizziness, and possible unconsciousness. If you believe you or someone you know is suffering from this it is important that you seek emergency medical attention immediately.

When blood sugar is not properly maintained, diabetes can damage and destroy blood vessels and blood. It may also lead to the death of skin and tissue cells.

Some other complications are:


Infections of the skin

Peripheral vascular disease


Urinary tract infections


Coronary artery disease

Currently, diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the US. Although there is no cure for diabetes, a healthy lifestyle, meal planning, medication, and insulin use can control blood sugars and prevent symptoms. There is no prevention for Type I diabetes, but prevention for Type II can include maintaining your ideal body weight, having an active life style and screening.

For more information on diabetes, please go to diabetes.org.

*The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. This article is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult your doctor if you have health concerns.

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