Diabetes is a serious medical condition, and one that’s far more widespread than most people realize. This summer, a shocking new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that a third of all Americans have prediabetes, although many don’t know it. As a result, the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes is always on the verge of rising even higher.
Diabetes can have a drastic effect on your life and your health insurance. In this series, we will take a closer look at this disease and the effect it can have on you, whether you are a person living on Medicare or you are attempting to acquire life insurance.
In the first part of this series, we will examine specifically the disease itself.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that prevents your body from properly handling glucose, or blood sugar. While glucose is an important energy source, especially for the brain, it can cause problems when left unchecked.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type one happens for an unknown reason, although it is largely thought to be based on genetic susceptibility. The second type of diabetes, aptly named type two, is the result of poor health factors, diet, as well as genetics.
In both cases, the body is no longer able to produce enough insulin to properly regulate glucose levels. Insulin, a natural hormone, is either no longer being produced in adequate amounts (type one), or the body has developed an immunity to insulin, which means you need an amount far above what your body can produce in order to regulate glucose (type two).
What Is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes, which tends to produce only type two diabetes, occurs when your body begins to acquire a tolerance to insulin. Your body then ramps up production of insulin to combat your increasing tolerance.
The key distinction here is that your body can recover from prediabetes. With the proper healthy lifestyle and preventative health services, you can keep prediabetes from escalating to the point of no return. Currently, there is no cure for diabetes, which means you will require lifelong treatment to keep the condition under control.
How Can You Prevent Diabetes?
Small steps can make a huge difference if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes. Incorporating small, healthy habits into your lifestyle can help stall or even reverse the development of your body’s insulin immunity. Going for a few walks per week and replacing sugary treats with fiber rich fruits and vegetables can have a tremendous impact.
Diabetes is a widespread problem, affecting the lives of millions of Americans. It has severe consequences for your health, your lifestyle, and your medical and life insurance coverage and payments. In the next installment of this three part series, we will examine the intersection of diabetes and Medicare.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes,” July 2017
- The Mayo Clinic, July 2014