What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin.  Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, with millions of Americans unaware they are currently at high risk.  Insulin’s role in the body is to take the sugar you eat and help your body absorb it into your cells.  When sugar (glucose) builds up in the bloodstream instead of being absorbed it leads to complications in your body.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, where it takes sugar from your bloodstream and allows the cells in your body to utilize the sugar for energy.

What are some complications of Diabetes?

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye complications
  • Foot complications
  • Depression
  • Skin complications
  • Diabetic neuropathy/nerve damage
  • Gastroparesis

What puts me at risk for developing Diabetes?

  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Age
  • Having diabetes during pregnancy

How do I know if I have diabetes?

  • Your physician will check your blood sugar or your hemoglobin A1c.  
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose:   ≥126 mg/dl after an 8 hour fast  (normal 70-100) 
  • Casual Plasma Glucose:   ≥ 200 mg/dl with classic signs/symptoms of hyperglycemia 
  • Hemoglobin A1c:  ≥6.5% 

What does the term pre-diabetes mean?

  • These patients do not quite have DM, but are at an increased risk of developing it in the future, and certain lifestyle changes should be initiated.  
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose - ≥100 but < 126 mg/dl (100-125) after an 8 hour fast.
  • Hemoglobin A1c: 5.7-6.4%

How can I treat diabetes?

  • Diabetes is more than just taking medications to control your sugar; it has to be a lifestyle change.
  • Nutrition- this is essential to management of diabetes. Consistent/appropriate carbohydrate choices, minimizing fat and sugar intake. (Meals same time each day). Refer to a registered dietician if available.
  • Exercise: individualized exercise program discussed with your physician.
  • Oral medications- consult with your physician.
  • Insulin- consult with your physician.

For more Information: American Diabetes Association