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Diabetes: What You Should Know

Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone insulin. Normally, the pancreas releases insulin to help your body store and use the sugar and fat from the food you eat. Diabetes can occur when the pancreas produces very little or no insulin, or when the body does not respond appropriately to insulin. Though there is no cure, diabetes can be treated and controlled.

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Prediabetes is when someone has higher than normal glucose levels but not high enough to diagnose diabetes. Individuals with prediabetes are at a higher risk of having heart disease, a stroke, or developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 1:
Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce insulin, a hormone that coverts sugar into energy. This type of diabetes is found mostly in children and young adults but can occur at every age, in people of every race, and of every shape and size.

Type 2:
Type 2 diabetes is when your body does not keep, make, and use insulin properly which is called insulin resistance. This causes your blood glucose levels to be higher than normal. This is the most common form of diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes:
Gestational Diabetes occurs in some women during pregnancy. Due to the increase in hormones in the body, cells become more resistant to insulin, causing the blood sugar levels to rise. In most instances, once the baby is delivered, the blood sugar levels will return to their normal state. However, there is a possibility that women who had gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and should be monitored for signs and symptoms.

People with diabetes need to manage their disease to stay healthy.

People with type 1 diabetes produce no insulin and must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes can typically be managed by diet, regular exercise, and controlling weight. Others may also need to take a pill that helps their body use insulin better or take insulin injections. A key to treating and maintaining one’s glucose levels is to perform routine blood glucose testing. This is done by utilizing a blood glucose meter. Tracking glucose readings allows you to adjust your diet/medication regimen to better manage your diabetes.

What to look for … 

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes often occur suddenly and can be severe. They include:
• Increased thirst
• Increased hunger (especially after eating)
• Dry mouth
• Frequent urination
• Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
• Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
• Blurred vision
• Labored, heavy breathing
• Loss of consciousness (rare)

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be the same as those listed above. Most often, there are no symptoms or a very gradual development of the above symptoms. Other symptoms may include:
• Slow-healing sores or cuts
• Itching of the skin
• Yeast infections
• Recent weight gain
• Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet
• Impotence or erectile dysfunction

Managing Your Diabetes

The goals of managing diabetes are to:
• Keep your blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible by balancing food intake with medication and activity.
• Maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) levels as near their normal ranges as possible by avoiding added sugars, processed starches, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
• Control your blood pressure.
• Slow or possibly prevent the development of diabetes-related health problems.

You hold the key to managing your diabetes by:
• Planning what you eat and following a balanced meal plan
• Exercising regularly
• Taking medicine, if prescribed, and closely following the guidelines on how and when to take it
• Monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure levels at home
• Keeping your appointments with your health care providers and having laboratory tests as ordered by your doctor

-The ProAct Clinical Team


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