What is Diabetes?


The following content was adapted from American Diabetes Association: All About Diabetes.
www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/

Diabetes is a disease marked by elevated blood sugar levels caused by a lack of or insufficient insulin production or the body's resistance to the effects of insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced by the body for the purpose of converting sugar and starches into the energy necessary for daily life.


Below 100mg/dl

Normal

100-125mg/dl (FBG)
or
140-199mg/dl* (OGTT)

Pre-diabetes

≥ 126mg/dl (FBG)

≥ 200 mg/dl * (OGTT)

Diabetes

*Blood Glucose values after 2 hours of Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

American Diabetes Association: All About Diabetes.
www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/

FBG-Fasting Blood Glucose
OGTT-Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (after 2 hours)


Types of Diabetes

Type 1
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin and is, therefore, unable to provide the cells with the glucose they need to generate energy. Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile onset diabetes, typically occurs in children and young adults. About 5-10% of diagnosed diabetics are type 1.

Type 2
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, does not use insulin properly, or has insufficient insulin production. Typically, type 2 diabetes is seen in adults, however, because overweight and obesity rates are increasing in children and adolescents this type of diabetes is being diagnosed more frequently in younger people. A majority of diagnosed diabetics have type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes occurs in about 4% of pregnant women, and is present only during pregnancy. Blood sugars will generally return to normal after the birth of the child. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Pre-Diabetes
Pre-diabetes is characterized by having fasting blood glucose levels between 100-125 mg/dl, or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) between 140-199 mg/dl. The body still reacts to insulin, but not as efficiently as it should. The likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes is very high. Approximately 41 million Americans have pre-diabetes.


Are you at risk for Diabetes?

To calculate your risk of having diabetes now, answer these questions. For each answer add the number of points in the appropriate column.

Question

Yes

No

Are you a woman who has had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth?

1

0

Do you have a sister or brother with diabetes?

1

0

Do you have a parent with diabetes?

1

0

Find your height on the chart. Do you weigh as much or more than the weight listed for your height? (See below)

5

0

Are you under 65 years old and get little or no exercise in a typical day?

5

0

Are you between 45 and 64 years old?

5

0

Are you 65 years old or older?

9

0


Height

Weight

Height

Weight

4'10

129

5'8

177

4'11

133

5'9

182

5'0

138

5'10

188

5'1

143

5'11

193

5'2

147

6'0

199

5'3

152

6'1

204

5'4

157

6'2

210

5'5

162

6'3

216

5'6

167

6'4

221

5'7

172

   

Know Your Score

If you scored.

then your risk is.

10 or more points

High for having diabetes now. You should visit your health care provider to rule out the possibility of having diabetes.

3-9 points

Low for having diabetes now. Keep your risk low by maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in physical activity, and not smoking.

This test was adapted from American Diabetes Association: All About Diabetes.
www.diabetes.org/risk-test.jsp


Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes cannot entirely be prevented, however, there are things that can be done to lower the risk of developing diabetes.

  • Exercise - making exercise a normal part of life can help lower the risk of diabetes. 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week is the goal. However, if 30 minutes is too much, then start light and build up the amount and intensity of exercise.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight - being overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes. If you are overweight, a weight loss of 5-10% of body weight will lower your risk for diabetes.

A recent study showed that combining 150 minutes of physical activity per week with a weight reduction of 7% of body weight (in overweight or obese individuals) produced a 58% reduction in the onset of diabetes.
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/


Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive hunger
  • Excessive urination-especially at night
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling very tired
  • Unusual weight loss that occurs without trying
  • Very dry skin
  • Slow healing sores
  • Frequent infections
  • Loss of feeling or tingling in feet
  • Vomiting

If you experiencing any of these symptoms you should see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out the possibility of a serious problem.


Blood Sugar Levels

Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar occurs when the blood sugar levels go low (below 50-60 mg/dl). Too much insulin, not enough food, too much exercise, eating at abnormal times, and not eating enough carbohydrates can cause hypoglycemia.

Insulin works by pulling sugar (glucose) that is in the blood into the body's cells where it can be stored and used for energy. Severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurs when there is so little sugar in the blood that it affects the brain, which can lead to coma in a very short period of time.

Treating Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia can be treated in several different ways. Eating or drinking something with 10-15 grams of sugar or taking glucose tablets can treat mild to moderate hypoglycemia. People with diabetes should always carry something with them to raise their blood sugar if it starts to go low. Low fat, high sugar foods work best for treating hypoglycemia because fat slows the movement of sugar into the bloodstream.

Severe hypoglycemia can be treated with an injection of glucagon. Glucagon is a hormone that stimulates the liver to release stored glucose, which will bring the blood sugar into a more normal range. Often people overtreat hypoglycemia, and this can cause a yo-yo effect into hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). It is best to give a measured amount of sugar, glucose tablet or glucagon and wait for 10-15 minutes to give the body time to work before treating again, if it is necessary to do so.

Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar occurs when blood sugar levels are too high. When the body does not produce or release insulin, or it is resistant to insulin, sugar has no way to get into the body's cells. When this happens sugar stays in the blood and causes hyperglycemia.

Hyperglycemia is a sign of poorly controlled diabetes. It is very important to carefully control blood sugar, because high blood sugar can lead to blindness, amputation, heart attack, kidney failure and other complications.

Treating Hyperglycemia
The best way to treat hyperglycemia is to carefully control your diabetes by balancing diet, exercise, oral medications, and/or insulin. If you have problems with frequent hyperglycemia talk to your health care provider about things you can do to better control your diabetes.