Diabetes is a serious disease affecting more than 24 million Americans, many of whom are unaware they have the condition according to the American Diabetes Association. In addition there are many millions who have a related disease condition known as Pre-Diabetes. Both Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes are diseases in which glucose, a simple sugar, exists in the bloodstream at elevated levels that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and other life-threatening complications.

Persons who are diagnosed as having diabetes, a condition in which higher than normal blood sugar levels exist in the body, often have an impaired ability to produce insulin, a hormone manufactured in an organ of the body called the pancreas. Insulin is essential in the process that enables the cells of the body to use the sugar that circulates in the bloodstream after eating food. The sugar is needed by the cells to use as an energy source and without insulin the sugars in the blood cannot be taken up by the cells.

The body may not be able to produce sufficient insulin or in some instances the cells may become insulin resistant, the result is that the sugar, in the form of glucose, builds in the body to the higher than normal levels that define diabetes. Diabetes is being increasingly diagnosed in North America where more than 20 million people are known diabetics and many millions more have the disease condition and are unaware of it.

There are three main forms of diabetes, Type-1, Type-2, and Gestational Diabetes. To manage those types of diabetes usually requires an adoption of a healthier lifestyle based on a proper diabetes diet, exercise and physical exertion, losing weight if necessary but maintaining weight at a healthy level at all times. Those may have to be supported by the addition of prescription medications or insulin and all persons with diabetes should be under the care of a doctor.

Different Types of Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes: about 8 to 10 percent of people with diabetes are classified as being Type-1. This form of the disease occurs mainly in children and teenagers, it is sometimes called by its former name of juvenile diabetes and is also sometimes referred to as insulin dependent diabetes. This diabetes is an auto immune disease in which the insulin producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body's own disease fighting cells with the result that insulin production ceases. For this reason, the type-1 diabetic has a lifelong reliance on daily injections of insulin. Like all diabetics, the type-1 diabetic must adopt an appropriate lifestyle by including healthy foods in their daily diabetic menu and maintaining a healthy weight with regular exercise and physical activity.

Type 2 Diabetes: this is the most common form of diabetes, affecting about 90 percent of all diagnosed cases. It is known also as adult onset diabetes because it is usually diagnosed at a much later stage in life, often in the mid-forties and beyond, although like all forms of diabetes, it is being diagnosed at much earlier ages in people that it used to be. As described above, elevated blood sugars exist in the bloodstream even though the body may be able to produce some insulin. At the present time there is no cure for type-2 diabetes and its risks must be controlled and managed through the combination of an appropriate diabetic diet plan, weight control, and physical exercise. Most type-2 diabetics are overweight, as are most Americans. The disease is associated with obesity and a so-called western-world lifestyle where the typical diet is rich in saturated fats and sugars. And people are following a generally sedentary way of life compounding the problems caused by excess weight.

Gestational Diabetes: A disease occurring in women during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed in a small number of up to about 7 or 8 percent of all pregnancies. The condition usually disappears when the baby is born. By following the usual approach to diabetes treatment but with special considerations for the growing baby, and under the care of the doctor and supporting healthcare team, the outcome of the pregnancy can be expected to be totally successful. However, for the mother there is an increased risk of developing a full form of type-2 diabetes later in life and that possibility should provide sufficient incentive to follow a healthy a lifetsyle, to eat right, maintain a healthy weight and to exercise.

Those are the key components to prevent diabetes or to manage diabetes in any of its forms. In some instances, there are also the additional possibilities of medication, insulin for the type-1 and some other types, and oral medications prescribed by a physician will help manage and control blood sugar levels for those who cannot achieve them by the other lifestyle means suggested.