According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and sadly, the number keeps rising. As the general population gets older, the incidence rate of diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed) continues to increase: “The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.9%, or 11.8 million seniors” according to the ADA. This is a significant portion of the population, and it’s very likely that someone you know personally will suffer from diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at this disease, who it affects, and whether in home care is appropriate in certain cases.
What are the basics of diabetes? What’s the difference between Types 1 and 2?
Diabetes refers to the amount of glucose (sugar) in your system, and how your body produces or uses insulin. Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas that transfers glucose from your blood into your cells. If your body does not create any or enough of this hormone, then the amount of glucose in your blood may increase to unhealthy levels, and this can have serious ramifications. For instance, your cells may initially be starved of energy (since glucose is staying in your blood instead of transferring into cells), and over time, your eyes, kidneys, heart, and other vital organs may be negatively impacted. One hopeful note, however, is that diabetes symptoms can generally be controlled with exercise and diet, which can positively affect other aspects of your life as well.