You may recall that the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has stated that people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease than people without diabetes. According to the NDEP, a fifth of deaths from heart attack are related to diabetes or prediabetes.
Because the connection between diabetes and heart disease couldn’t be much clearer, any successful approach to combating heart disease has to include awareness of the danger of diabetes.
- People diagnosed early in life with Type 1 (juvenile-onset) diabetes need to pay careful attention to managing their symptoms, which frequently include thirst and hunger, fatigue, frequent urination, and loss of feeling in the feet. Diabetes management for these people normally includes careful attention to diet, daily injections, and frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels. Over time may people deal successfully with the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, and even manage to minimize some symptoms.
- People diagnosed later in life with Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes experience symptoms similar to those that people with Type 1 diabetes experience, and their methods of managing the condition are also similar. Type 2 diabetes catches many people who were unaware that they were even at risk for diabetes, but diagnosis is often a wake-up call leading to lifestyle changes resulting in dramatic improvement in health and overall quality of life.
- People found to be prediabetic get the same sort of wake-up call as those who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The difference is that exercise, weight management, and dietary changes are often sufficient to prevent prediabetes from progressing to full-blown diabetes. Unfortunately, some people ignore this wake-up call and continue down an unhealthy nutrition and lifestyle path, but the American Diabetes Association paints a very positive picture when it comes to the prognosis for people found to be prediabetic.
- People with no family history of diabetes and no apparent symptoms still need to be vigilant. Type 2 sneaks up on many people whose symptoms have developed so slowly that they’re “under the radar.” No one should simply assume he or she is diabetes-free unless screening confirms that, and even people who show no signs of diabetes ought to consider taking a similar approach to what a prediabetic person might take. If you’re diabetes-free, the best way to stay that way is by sticking to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle complete with plenty of exercise.