The Engineer's Notebook Blog

The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

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March 23rd is American Diabetes Association Alert Day

Posted March 23, 2010 4:00 AM by Sharkles

Editor's note: This original version if this post referred to high blood sugar as "hypoglycemia". It has since been corrected as "hypergylcemia" -- thanks, Guest!

On the fourth Tuesday of March, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) holds an annual "alert day." This event, which the organization describes as a "wake-up call" for Americans, is important for citizens of other countries, too. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global prevalence of diabetes continues to rise and "this number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention".

The ADA's message is simple: know whether or not you or your loved ones at risk of diabetes. In the United States, it is estimated that one in five Americans is at risk for type 2 diabetes, and nearly 6 million more already have diabetes and don't know it.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus, typically referred to as diabetes, is a condition where a person has a high blood sugar levels as a result of the body not producing enough insulin, or because body cells do not properly respond to the insulin that is produced.

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that allows body cells to absorb the blood sugar (glucose) and turn it into energy. If the cells do not absorb the glucose, it amasses in the blood – a condition known as hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

There are many different types of diabetes, but the most common include Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that results from the body's failure to produce insulin. The lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose. Common symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. Type 1 diabetes can be fatal unless treated with insulin, which is commonly injected.

Common factors attributed to Type 1 diabetes include genetics and exposure to certain viruses. Type 1 diabetes was once referred to as juvenile diabetes since it typically appears during adolescence – although it may develop at any age.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is estimated to account for 90% of all cases of diabetes in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood pressure as a result of the body not producing enough insulin, or the body cells ignoring the insulin. While some people may not experience symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, others may experience blurred vision, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, frequent or slow-healing infections, increased appetite, increased thirst, frequent urination, and unexplained weight loss.

There are many factors that may cause Type 2 diabetes including a range of medical conditions, genetic factors, and certain medications. It is said that this type of diabetes can often be delayed with proper nutrition and regular exercise.

Gestational diabetes is a condition where women who previously had not been diagnosed with diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. There are little-to-few signs of gestational diabetes. Should symptoms develop, they are commonly non-life threatening to the pregnant woman and are diagnosed by screening during the pregnancy.

Blood sugar levels typically return to normal post-delivery; however, babies born to mothers who experience gestational diabetes are prone to developing childhood obesity with the risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Are YOU the One in Five?
By holding this alert day, the American Diabetes Association encourages people to find out if they are at risk. Their websites provides a risk assessment test, which takes about a minute to complete.

For more information on diabetes, go to



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