Diabetes is a disorder characterized by the body's inability to manufacture and utilize insulin. Insulin is the hormone required to process sugar, starch, and other nutrients into the energy. To this day, the cause of diabetes is unknown, but it is believed that heredity and environmental factors (e.g., diet and lack of exercise) play a significant part.
An astounding 20.8 million adults and children (seven percent of the entire US population) are diabetic. Of those, 14.6 million have been officially diagnosed with the disease, and the other 6.2 million have no knowledge that they are even affected by it.
Medical professionals administer a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPGT) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) to determine if a person has pre-diabetes or full-fledged diabetes. The tests can be used interchangeably, but the American Diabetes Association favors the FPGT because it is simpler, quicker, and cheaper.
Using the FPGT, pre-diabetes is indicated by a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl. On the other hand, someone with fasting blood glucose of at least 126 mg/dl has diabetes.
With the OGTT test, the candidate's blood glucose level is recorded following fasting and two hours after drinking a highly concentrated glucose beverage. If the two-hour blood glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl, the person is diagnosed with pre-diabetes. But, if it is greater than 200 mg/dl, then it is determined that they have diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
The four major types of diabetes include:
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