In this animated video segment adapted from the Eagle Books series produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an American Indian boy named Rain That Dances meets Mr. Eagle, who is sad about the health of the people in the village. Mr. Eagle describes how hard work and physical activity used to be a way of life, making people strong and healthy, but now many people are sick with diabetes because of their new lifestyles. Rain That Dances learns how to prevent diabetes by eating healthy traditional foods and being more active, like his ancestors.
This media asset was adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Eagle Books series.
After eating food, the body breaks it down into simpler forms, such as the sugar glucose, which is used as fuel by cells. The hormone insulin helps cells process glucose into energy. Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin or is not able to use it properly. When a person has diabetes, glucose can't move from the blood into body cells. As a result, high levels of sugar end up in the blood, and cells become starved for energy. Symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, increased appetite and thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, and areas of darkened skin. Over time, diabetes can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease and damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nervous system.
There are different forms of diabetes, but type 2 diabetes is the most common. Hundreds of millions of people in the world suffer from type 2 diabetes, which is likely caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has increased in recent years, corresponding to changes in lifestyle and rising rates of obesity. In the developed world, people generally have sedentary lifestyles and spend much of their day being inactive (for example, sitting at work, using computers, or riding in a car).
Unhealthy eating habits are also contributing to the diabetes epidemic. People who are overweight are more likely to develop diabetes because fat interferes with how insulin is used by the body. Research has shown that moderate weight loss and an increase in physical activity can delay and prevent type 2 diabetes. In addition to being overweight and physically inactive, other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include high blood pressure, older age, and family history. It is also more common among certain populations, such as African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, and Asian Americans.
Once diagnosed, the treatment for diabetes primarily consists of diet and exercise. The goal is to keep blood glucose levels from getting too high or low and to prevent disease complications. It is important to have a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and to maintain consistency by eating balanced proportions of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats at roughly the same times each day. A diabetic should also monitor blood glucose levels by frequent testing. In addition, regular exercise improves blood flow and blood pressure, and also lowers blood glucose levels and burns calories. If diet and exercise are not enough to manage the disease, medications and insulin therapy may also be used.
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