Figures from the American Diabetic Association show that diabetes complications was the cause of death in the U.S. of approximately 233,619 people in the latest statistics of 2005. They state that there are currently 57 million people in the U.S. With diabetes. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during prediabetes.

The good news is that there is a great deal you can do to manage your diabetes regardless of when you find out if you have it. Preferably you will find out in its very early stages. Learning about it and being informed is truly the best medicine. Learn as much as you can about your type of diabetes. Learn how to control your blood sugar, any complications that you may have or that will occur and how to prevent them. This may help you stay healthy. Be sure to consult your physician first before implementing or changing your diet or exercise routine. You may also want to talk to your physician concerning your diabetes when taking over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements.

Diabetes is definitely a serious condition. It is a chronic disorder of carbohydrates, fat and protein metabolism, characterized by fasting elevation of blood sugar level and a greatly increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and loss of nerve functions. When looking at the disturbing effects of diabetes you may want to look at the American Diabetic Association's website for some very good information.

There are two very distinct types of diabetes. They are labeled Type 1 and Type 2.

If you are insulin dependent you are a type 1 diabetic. Also known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM). This will often occur in children and adolescents. Folks with type 1 diabetes will need to track their sugar levels and possible inject themselves with insulin on a daily basis. This type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps deliver sugar from the blood to the cells of the body for use.

If you do not have to take insulin you have type 2 diabetes. This is also known as Non-Insulin-Dependent Mellitus (NIDDM) and usually occurs in adults. In this type insulin is present, but not appropriately available because of insulin-resistance. Insulin is not quite able to do what it is supposed to do due to a variety of reasons. The pancreas will produce insulin, but the body's cells do not readily respond to its action and cannot absorb the needed glucose from the blood. Because of this inaction, glucose levels rise in the blood.

Diabetes can be caused by several different factors. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes. Yet two factors are important in both. First, you must inherit a predisposition to the disease. Second, something in your environment must trigger diabetes.

Heredity does play a major role in the occurrence of diabetes. Some individuals or ethnic groups may be more susceptible, genetically, than others. Although the genetic factor is really not enough to trigger diabetes. For type 1 diabetes both parents will present the risk factors to their children. Type 2 diabetes actually is more of a genetic susceptibility than type 1. Sounds kind of confusing, doesn't it?

Diabetes is a very serious disease. Nationally two of three people will die of a stroke or heart disease each year. This is more than AIDS or breast cancer.

Most notably, if you are obese or overweight you will develop diabetes at some time in your life.

There are other types of diabetes that account for 1 to 5 percent of all diagnosed cases. These will result from specific genetic conditions such as maturity-onset diabetes of youth, surgery, medications, infections, pancreatic disease, and other illnesses.

If you have any concerns about diabetes talk to your doctor.