Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should.
There are three main types of diabetes:
• Type 1- your body does not make insulin to take the sugar from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. If you heave type 1 diabetes, you need to take insulin every day to live.
• Type 2- your body does not make or use insulin well. You might need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
• Gestational diabetes- Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are regnant. Most of the time it does away after the baby is born.
Risk factors for developing diabetes:
• Age 45 or older
• Have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
• Not physically active
• Have ever had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
• Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian or Alaska Native
Symptoms of Diabetes:
• Frequent urination- often at night
• Feeling very thirsty
• Weight loss without trying
• Very hungry
• Have blurry vision
• Numbness or tingling of hands or feet
• Feeling very tired
• Very dry skin
• Have sores that heal slowly
• Have more infections than usual
People who have type 1 diabetes may also have nausea, vomiting or stomach pains. Type 1 diabetes usually starts when you are a child, teen or young adult but can happen at any age.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop over several years and can go on for a long time without being noticed. Type 2 diabetes usually starts when you are an adult, but more and more teens are developing it. Symptoms are hard to spot, so knowing the risk factors is very important.
You will need to get your blood sugar tested to find out for sure if you have a form of diabetes. Testing is simple and results are usually available quickly. Your doctor will have you take one or more of the following blood tests to confirm a diagnosis:
A1C Test measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2 or 3 months. An A1C below 5.7% is normal, between 5.7 and 6.4% indicates you have prediabetes, and 6.5% or higher indicates you have diabetes.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test measures your blood sugar after and overnight fast (not eating). A fasting blood sugar level of 99 or lower is normal. 100-125 mg/dL indicates you have prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
Glucose tolerance test measures your blood sugar before and after you drink a liquid that contains glucose. You’ll fast overnight before the test and have your blood drawn to determine your fasting blood sugar level. Then you will drink the liquid and have your blood sugar checked 1 hour, 2 hours and possibly 3 hours afterward. At 2 hours, a blood sugar level of 140mg/dL or lower is considered normal, 140 to 199mg/dL indicates you have prediabetes, and 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
Random blood sugar test measures your blood sugar at the time you are tested. You can take this test at any time and do not need to fast first. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher indicates you have diabetes.
Complications of Diabetes:
• People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke.
• Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
• Smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers.
In about 2 out of 3 American Indians/Alaska Natives with kidney failure, diabetes is the cause.
• Sever sores on the feet and legs often lead to amputations in many people with uncontrolled diabetes.
• Low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia, can often occur with taking too much insulin, waiting too long for a meal or snack, not eating enough or getting extra physical activity. Symptoms of hypoglycemia may include: shakiness, nervousness or anxiety, sweating, chills, irritability, dizziness, hunger or nausea, blurred vision, weakness or fatigue or anger.
Medical costs and lost work and wages for people with diagnosed diabetes total $327 billion each year!
More than 30 million people in the US have diabetes and 1 in 4 of them do not even know they have it.
More than 84 million US adults- over a third- have prediabetes and 90% do not even know they have it.
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US!
Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes and
Type 1 accounts for 5-10%.
In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than triples as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.
Treatment for Diabetes: There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed!
1. Eat well and follow a diabetic diet as prescribed by your Dr.
2. Drink water instead of fruit juice and soda.
3. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you need to know what to do every day:
• Take your medicines even when you feel good.
• Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots and swelling.
• Call your health care professional right away about any sores.
• Brush and floss your teeth daily to keep your mouth healthy.
Keep track of your blood sugar and keep a record of your numbers. Check with your Dr. to see how often you need to be checking your blood sugar.
• Track your blood pressure.
• Do NOT smoke!
• Buy diabetes supplies and store them properly.
• Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care.
Questions to ask your Dr:
• What is my target range for my blood sugar?
• How often should I check my blood sugar?
• What do these numbers mean?
• Are there patterns that show I need to change my diabetes treatment?
• What changes need to be made to by diabetes care plan?
2. National Diabetes Statistics Report
3, American Diabetes Association