What you should know about diabetes: Risk factors, potential complications and screening

Diabetes Awareness Month brings awareness to the disease and educates those at risk.

  • What is the difference between Type 1 and 2?
  • Gestational diabetes can increase risk during pregnancy.
  • Hear from a recording artist about his complications from diabetes.

The United States is currently facing a growing epidemic of diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34.2 million American adults have diabetes, however, 1 in 5 of those people don’t even know it. The seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations and adult blindness.

In preparation for Diabetes Awareness Month in November, healthcare leaders at Providence are focused on educating the community about this chronic condition and promoting screenings.

The difference between Type 1 and 2 diabetes

Mona Garcia, RN, certified diabetic educator, participated in #TalkToADoc, a series of podcasts about diabetes and how the disease affects the body. In “Diabetes Type 1 & 2,” Garcia discusses the difference between the two conditions, the risk factors and the importance of screenings. Key takeaways include:

  • Type 1 diabetes is usually an autoimmune disorder. The only treatment available is insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes often is the result of genetic components as well as lifestyle choices. It can appear at any age, and usually can be managed with medication.
  • Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, kidney and nerve damage, and eye problems.
  • Nutrition plays a key role in preventing diabetes and/or managing the disease.

Gestational diabetes

In the second #TalkToADoc podcast, “Gestational Diabetes,” Garcia discusses what expectant moms should know about this condition, which affects 2% to 10% of pregnancies. It increases the risk for:

  • Preterm labor
  • Infections
  • Preeclampsia 
  • High blood pressure
  • C-section delivery

Why diabetes education is so important

In 2016, recording artist 2Mex nearly died from diabetes. Although he lost a leg below the knee due to complications, 2Mex was determined to get back to making music and hosting the 2Mex Hologram radio show. Garcia sat down with 2Mex to talk about his disease in the video

Recording artist 2Mex shares his experience after losing part of a limb to diabetes.”

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If you feel unwell and would like to talk to a provider, Providence Express Care Virtual connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow-up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory or search for one in your area.

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Are you or someone you love concerned about #diabetes? Share what you’ve learned, ask questions or celebrate healthy victories @providence. 

Related Resources

Don't put off your diabetes and blood pressure screenings

What can you eat when you have diabetes?

Living with Type 2 Diabetes

American Diabetes Association

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Body & Mind Team is dedicated to providing medically-sound, data-backed insights and advice on how to reach and maintain your optimal health through a mixture of exercise, mindfulness, preventative care and healthy living in general.

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