What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is an illness that causes sugar levels in your blood to be high. Another word for blood sugar is glucose. Most of what you eat is changed into glucose during digestion. All the cells in your body need glucose to give you energy!
Your body makes a hormone called insulin. Insulin works to keep your blood glucose in the normal range by helping it move from your blood into your cells.
When you have diabetes,
• your body does not make insulin, or
• it does not make enough insulin, or
• the insulin your body makes does not work right
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
The most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.
In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin. Insulin must be taken by injection. Type 1 diabetes occurs more often in children and young adults.
Most people (about 9 out of 10) with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Many are adults over the age of 40 years; but the number of children and young adults with type 2 diabetes is rising
Three important ways you can help manage your diabetes are by balancing:
- the food you eat
- how active you are
- and, for many people, by taking medicine
Managing blood glucose is important
Over time, high blood glucose levels can lead to serious health problems with your:
- kidneys and nerves
Check your blood glucose
You can check your own blood glucose with a meter. Your doctor or diabetes educator will show you how to check your blood glucose. Checking your blood glucose often is one of the best ways to make sure your diabetes-care plan is working. The table on this page lists the blood glucose goals recommended for people with diabetes. You and your diabetescare team will work together to determine your personal blood glucose goals. Write them in the table and save them.
Manage your diabetes every day
There is no cure for diabetes, but you can manage it by taking good care of yourself. Your diabetes-care team will help you develop a diabetes-care plan that is right for you.
Some people with diabetes exhibit symptoms, some do not.
If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- A1c (glycosylated hemoglobin)- at least twice a year.
- Lipid Profile - yearly (less frequently if normal)
- Microalbumin measurement - yearly
Other Tests and Exams
- Dilated eye exam - yearly
- Weight - each regular diabetes visit
- Blood Pressure - each regular diabetes visit
- Foot Exams - each regular diabetes visit