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UNDERSTANDING DIABETES


Diabetes is an insufficient or total lack in the body, of a hormone called insulin. Insulin is produced in the pancreas, which is located near the stomach. What insulin does is it allows the glucose or sugar from the food you eat to enter the cells of the body to give you energy. The body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is affected by diabetes due to this lack of insulin or insulin resistance.


A person without diabetes eats and the right amount of insulin enters the bloodstream and opens up the cells of the body for the glucose to enter and give them energy.


For a person with diabetes that process is affected and the glucose isn’t getting into the cells as it should, and remains in the bloodstream adding up. This build up happens for several different reasons: (Too little insulin, cells cannot use the insulin made or the liver releases too much glucose.) This high amount of glucose is called hyperglycemia. (Hyper-high Glycemia-glucose or sugar). Over time this high blood sugar if left untreated, travels throughout the body and can cause damage to both large and small blood vessels. (eyes ,kidneys, heart, circulatory system)

 

 

TYPES OF DIABETES

 

PRE-DIABETES:

Pre-Diabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.If left untreated, pre-diabetes can become Type 2 diabetes in10 years or less. The long term damage of elevated blood sugars can already be starting. Intervention is necessary to get your blood sugars down to normal to help prevent or delay the development of Type 2. Talking with your doctor about proper diet, becoming more physically active, and needed weight loss can all be part of this plan.

Often pre-diabetes has no symptoms. But one of the few signs can be a darkening of the skin in areas like the neck, armpits, elbows, knees, and knuckles. Getting checked for pre-diabetes is as easy as getting some blood work done (fasting blood sugar).

 

TYPE 1 DIABETES:

Used to be called Juvenile Diabetes. About 10% of the people with diabetes have Type 1. It is seen mostly in persons 20 years of age or younger. The pancreas stops producing insulin. The body actually destroys it’s own beta cells that produce insulin. The person with Type1 diabetes needs to replace the insulin with insulin injections daily. They also need to balance these injections with the right amount of food and exercise.

 

TYPE 2 DIABETES:

Used to be called Adult Onset diabetes. Approximately 90% of the people with diabetes have Type2. Usually they are diagnosed after the age of 40 years, but many children are being diagnosed at an increased rate. With Type 2 diabetes, the person has some insulin, just not enough to keep their blood sugars in the normal range. Or, they could have something called insulin resistance where the insulin is just not getting into the cells of the body. Symptoms might not be as noticeable right away. When first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you often are put on a regime of diet and exercise to control you blood sugars. If that doesn’t work you can be put on oral medications or combination of medications along with diet and exercise. The pancreas is working overtime to produce enough insulin for you and can wear itself out. Diabetes is a progressive disease and treatment can change over a lifetime. So sometimes a person with Type 2 diabetes needs to go on insulin, or insulin and oral medications. Type 2 diabetes is often accompanied by hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol and obesity.

 


TYPE 1.5 or LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood)
OR SLOW ONSET TYPE 1 DIABETES:


This applies to person 25 years or older diagnosed with diabetes as adults, but who do not immediately require insulin for treatment and are often not overweight and have little or no resistance to insulin. They often do not have other signs of Type 2 diabetes such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is estimated that 15-20% of persons diagnosed with Type 2 might actually have LADA or Slow Onset Type 1 Diabetes.

There are special lab tests that can be done to help with the diagnoses. One of them is (Insulin C-Peptide). This test measure residual beta cell function by determining the level of insulin production.

 

GESTATIONAL DIABETES:

Usually a temporary condition of elevated blood sugars during pregnancy. Women are usually tested for diabetes during their pregnancy if they have any risk factors ( family history, obesity, glycosuria-sugar in the urine, or history of gestational diabetes). If testing shows that the women doesn’t have diabetes at that time, they are usually retested at 24-28 weeks. Women who have just average risk factors are usually tested at the 24-28 week time period. Once diagnosed, treatment includes medical nutritional therapy, exercise and if needed to control blood sugars, insulin therapy. It usually corrects itself after the baby is born. It is possible though, that the women will develop diabetes later in life.

 

Uncontrolled diabetes of all types results in high blood glucose levels which over time can cause long term complications.

 

 

Tips

High blood pressure, if left untreated, increases the risk of heart, eye, and kidney disease!!