Diabetes Awareness

Lions International has designated diabetes as one of its core initiatives – it is an epidemic in the United States, and one of the leading causes of preventable blindness.

Diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels to become too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy.

Types of Diabetes

  • Prediabetes – the condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes
  • Type 1 Diabetes – the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, so the pancreas produces little or no insulin
  • Type 2 Diabetes – the body does not produce enough insulin, or the  body’s cells do not react to insulin.
  • Gestational Diabetes – A form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women.

MANY people do not even know that they have diabetes or pre-diabetes and, therefore, are increasing their health risk!  Take this 60-second Diabetes Risk Test

Common Symptoms of Diabetes

The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.  Visit your doctor as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry—even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss—even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Serious Complications from Diabetes

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes.  Here is a summary, but you can get more details from this American Diabetes Association page:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Diabetes-Related Eye Disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Foot Complications
  • Skin Complications
  • Oral Complications
  • Hearing Loss
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • Stroke

Download the Diabetes in Tennessee Fact Sheet from the American Diabetes Association (2023)