Become aware: Learn diabetes warning signs |

Become aware: Learn diabetes warning signs

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

This Saturday is the annual global celebration of World Diabetes Day, part of National Diabetes Awareness Month. More than 40 U.S. cities and landmarks, including the Nevada State Capitol, will “go blue” in observance of the disease.

A blue circle is the global symbol of diabetes. The circle portrays unity and the blue is the color of the flag of the United Nations and reflects the color of the sky under which we all stand.

Diabetes affects 26.8 million Americans and an estimated 250,000 Nevadans. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.

Taking insulin does not cure any type of diabetes nor prevent the possibility of its eventual and devastating effects: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputation, heart attack, stroke and pregnancy complications

Diabetes is the single most costly chronic disease. In 2009, diabetes accounted for $174 billion in health-care costs in the U.S. (in Nevada alone, it accounts for $167 million annually). It uses one out of every three Medicare dollars. One out of every three children born in the U.S. from the year 2000 on will develop some form of diabetes in their lifetime.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) of Northern Nevada provides the following information and resources to help our community become more educated about diabetes.

Warning Signs

• Frequent urination

• Excessive thirst

• Fatigue and lower than normal energy

• Sudden unexplained weight loss

• Fruity, sweet or wine-like odor on the breath

• Heavy, labored breathing

• Sudden vision changes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, debilitating disease affecting every organ system. It strikes children and adults suddenly and lasts a lifetime. Between 25 and 40 percent of children aren’t diagnosed with type 1 diabetes until they have a life-threatening but preventable condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, which can result in a coma. By knowing and watching for the above warning signs, this condition can be avoided.

Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes

There are significant differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas stop working. It can occur at any age, but most commonly is diagnosed from infancy to the late 30s. People with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin multiple times daily or use insulin infusion pumps.

In type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or use it effectively. It can be genetic, and tends to be age and lifestyle-related. Type 2 diabetes generally affects people over age 35. But adults can develop type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, and an alarming number of children are developing type 2 diabetes.

JDRF of Northern Nevada offers many resources for individuals and families with type 1 diabetes including support and networking groups, parent-to-parent family mentors, resource referrals, school advisory and adult type 1 toolkits.

Learn more about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at,, or call (775) 786-1881.