25 Things You Should Know About Diabetes
Share it: Shutterstock You’ve probably heard of insulin, blood glucose, finger pricks and carb counting. For the diabetic, they’re a part of daily life–but most of us have little understanding as to just how these things play a role in diabetes, or just why this disease can be so deadly. I say this because diabetes is a complicated group of diseases. I knew very little about diabetes before I began studying to become a Registered Dietitian. At one point I even remember thinking to myself, “High blood sugar doesn’t sound so dangerous.” Boy, was I wrong. It’s one thing to understand what causes diabetes and why it’s so deadly, but having to manage diabetes gets even more complex. Once I began speaking with patients in the hospital during my clinical training, I saw just how daunting controlling blood sugar could be. Frequent finger pricks, dosing insulin, remembering to take medications, choosing the right carbohydrates and diligently counting them at each meal isn’t easy–but it’s essential. With the prevalence of diabetes today, it’s likely you–or someone you know–lives with this disease. Today, diabetes affects 347 million people worldwide, and back in 2007 it was the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Given the current global obesity epidemic, diabetes has likely only become more deadly since then. A little knowledge goes a long way, so for World Diabetes Day, here are 25 things you should know about diabetes: INSULIN, GLUCOSE and BLOOD SUGAR 1. Glucose, a form of sugar, is a main source of energy for muscle cells and other tissues. 2. After a meal, carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars. These sugars are absorbed in the gut and enter into the bloodstream. 3. Certain carbohydrates, like sweets, sodas, white rice and w Continue reading >>
Diabetes: A National Plan For Action. The Importance Of Early Diabetes Detection
Approximately 5 million of the 18 million people with diabetes in the U.S. do not know they have it.56 Early detection and treatment of diabetes is an important step toward keeping people with diabetes healthy. It can help to reduce the risk of serious complications such as premature heart disease and stroke, blindness, limb amputations, and kidney failure.57 Some of the important signs and symptoms of diabetes are shown in Table 2. Many people with type 2 diabetes have no signs or symptoms, but do have risk factors (see Table 1). For persons at increased risk or those experiencing these signs and symptoms, several tests are used to diagnose diabetes: A fasting plasma glucose test measures blood glucose after not eating for at least 8 hours. This test is used to detect diabetes (126 mg/dl and above) or pre-diabetes (between 100 mg/dl and 125 mg/dl).58 An oral glucose tolerance test measures blood glucose after not eating for at least 8 hours and 2 hours after drinking a glucose-containing beverage. This test is used to diagnose diabetes (200 mg/dl and above) or pre-diabetes (between 140 mg/dl and 199 mg/dl).59 In a random plasma glucose test, blood glucose is checked without regard to when food is consumed. Values of 200 mg/dl or greater in the presence of specific symptoms, such as increased urination or thirst and unexplained weight loss, indicate a diagnosis of diabetes.60 Positive test results should be confirmed by repeating the fasting plasma glucose test or the oral glucose tolerance test on a different day. Type 1 diabetes is typically detected much sooner after onset than type 2 disease because the symptoms are dramatic and the need for medical care is immediate and obvious. In contrast, the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be absent or so mild that th Continue reading >>
Eight Important Things You Should Know About Diabetes
More accurately described as a group of diseases, diabetes mellitus occurs when the level of sugar, or glucose, in the bloodstream is elevated because the body doesn’t produce enough insulin (a hormone that helps break down glucose) or doesn’t properly utilize what it has, to power cells and promote growth and development. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 juvenile diabetes, which generally occurs in youth and results from an absence of insulin production, and type 2 adult onset, when the body stops responding normally to insulin. However, due to rising obesity levels in children, younger patients are now diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes symptoms, which are similar to type 2 According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 29 million American suffer from diabetes, up by eight million or more just six years ago. Another 86 million have “prediabetes” meaning they are at high risk for developing the disease. The likelihood of developing diabetes increases as you age, with the resulting cost in medical care and lost wages a staggering $245 billion. Genetics play a part, but there are numerous other factors involved, some of which are within a person’s control. Bottom line: Type 2 diabetes is a preventable, manageable disease if you are willing to make changes to improve your overall health, while type 1 is controllable. Here are eight key points about diabetes that everyone should know, with a focus on preventable type 2: 1. The Role that Genes Play To date, about 45 genes have been identified that are linked to type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes, and could have evolved as part of a genetic evolution, helping the body store energy for times of famine. In today’s westernized world, famine is highly Continue reading >>
Why Is It Important To Know What Type Of Diabetes I Have?
It is important to know whether you have type 1, type 2 or another type of diabetes because the treatment strategies for each differ. Some studies suggest that early insulin treatment in people with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) may help keep beta cells (those that produce insulin in the pancreas) alive and functioning longer. Whereas people with type 1 need to take insulin, people with type 2 may not. Type 2 diabetes can usually be managed with lifestyle changes and, if needed, medication. The American Diabetes Association recommends that all people diagnosed with type 2 be started on metformin (a medication that helps lower blood glucose by making sure the liver does not make too much glucose), unless contraindicated. However, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the need for medications with lifestyle changes. Because type 2 is progressive, many people who start out on oral medications may eventually need insulin therapy. This does not mean that you have failed at managing your diabetes, or that your type 2 has become type 1. Instead, it simply means that your type 2 diabetes has progressed to a more advanced stage. Knowing how your disease is affecting your body is important and can help you better manage your diabetes. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have questions about what type of diabetes you have. Continue reading >>
Three Important Things You Didn’t Know About Diabetes
This week, lead blogger Dr Alessandro Demaio of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative returns to lay things straight on a leading cause of global deaths. When we think of diabetes, we tend to think of rich people with poor lifestyles. A chronic disease linked with obesity, heart disease and worse outcomes for some infectious diseases, diabetes tends to be associated in our minds with wealth, excess and over-consumption. But it’s not. Diabetes is a disease that results in higher-than-healthy sugar levels in the blood and can lead to some disastrous outcomes – including blindness, kidney disease and heart disease. In Turkey last week, working with Rotary to deliver workshops on diabetes prevention and care, three important messages emerged that shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to this massive health challenge. 1. The burden is hitting our poorest, hardest Globally and locally, the poorest two-thirds are hardest hit, when it comes to the burden of diabetes. To give this concept some shape, in China today, one in two of the population is estimated to be diabetic or at risk – in 1980, one in one hundred had the disease. In fact Latin America, The Middle East and parts of Africa have some of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. The natural next question, is why – and there’s no simple answer. In part, it is because of the dramatic changes in diet and behaviours observed today across the world – including the globalisation and ‘Westernisation’ of our food and lifestyle patterns. In part, it is because of a lower baseline level of health literacy, as well as under-resourced education and health systems, and prevention mechanisms. In part, it is due to poverty restricting access to increasingly more expensive healthy foods and diabetes medications. A Continue reading >>
Why Is Diabetes Important?
Diabetes is a chronic disorder of glucose metabolism and is a major cause of heart disease and end-stage renal disease in European populations, the single biggest cause of preventable blindness, the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputation and major cause of premature mortality. The secular trend and geographical variation of type 2 diabetes suggest that genes and lifestyles interact in their influence on glucose metabolism and the development of diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes is rising worldwide. In Europe, between 35-40% of people will develop diabetes mellitus over their lifetime, accounting for up to 10% of all funds spent on healthcare. The need to understand its aetiology and to develop preventive strategies is, therefore, key to improving the health of the public and to reducing the burden on the health care system. Further information on the global burden of Diabetes can be found via the International Diabetes Federation publications, including the IDF Diabetes Atlas: Back Continue reading >>
Diabetes Education: Why It’s So Crucial To Care
Diabetes education is the cornerstone of diabetes management, because diabetes requires day-to-day knowledge of nutrition, exercise, monitoring, and medication, according to Patricia Bonsignore, M.S., R.N., C.D.E., Diabetes Educator at the Joslin Diabetes Center. Importance of Diabetes Education Diabetes is unlike other diseases, such as cholesterol and hypertension, where medication alone can often times successfully treat it, Bonsignore says. There are a lot of other components to diabetes, such as: the diabetes disease process, nutritional management, physical activity, medications, glucose monitoring, and psychosocial adjustment. Diabetes education makes you more aware of diabetes, what it takes to treat it, and gives you the power to control it. Diabetes education allows you to better incorporate education into your life and make the necessary changes to improve your lifestyle. Who to Involve in your Diabetes Education Diabetes education and self-management training should be done with a team, according to Bonsignore. The team should consist ideally of: If you don’t have access to all of these people, Bonsignore says to check with your local hospital to see what diabetes education services are available, or ask your primary care physician about the endocrinologists in your area. Best Practices for Diabetes Education It’s a good idea to have individual diabetes education as well as group education. In a group, you may feel more comfortable because people have the same concerns, you can share your experiences and frustrations, and hear answers to questions you may not have thought of yourself. However, Bonsignore says it’s very important that you create an individual plan after the group visit, because everyone’s lifestyle is different. Your diabetes self-man Continue reading >>
Why Is Diabetes Research So Important?
Diabetes is an extremely common disease, affecting a diverse age range of people across the world. Those who are diagnosed with diabetes experience significant health concerns because the disease itself has proven to be the catalyst for other health problems. Many individuals who struggle with obesity develop diabetes, and the disease kills more people every year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Complications from diabetes can vary, but; the most prevalent co-morbid conditions include: kidney disease, amputations, blindness, cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, hypoglycemia, dyslipidemia, and risk of heart attack or stroke. How many people does diabetes effect? According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects nearly 29 million Americans. According to the World Health Organization, 347 million people worldwide have diabetes. Diabetes remains the 7thleading cause of death in America. Many individuals’ death certificates cite diabetes as the underlying cause of death. There are two primary types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by a lack of insulin production. This type of diabetes is frequently life-long, and cannot be prevented by lifestyle choices or exercise habits. Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. This is a much more commonly occurring type, with around 90% of all diabetes diagnoses being type 2. Most of the research being done is centered around this type of diabetes. A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, effects pregnant women, and is characterized by raised blood sugar. Americans diabetes expenses top hundreds of billions. Due to the widespread nature of the disease, people worldwide spend a lot of money on diabetes-related healthcare costs. In America, Continue reading >>
Prediabetes: What Is It And Why Is It Important?
0 0 For those of us with Type 1 diabetes, the warning signs can strike quickly and without warning. People with Type 2 diabetes, however, often have an early warning signal – prediabetes. Despite not being greatly understood, this condition can serve as a wake up call to people on the road to Type 2 diabetes. Those that pay attention can often avoid diabetes entirely. Those that don’t can end up on the road to insulin dependency. What Is Prediabetes? Prediabetes has been characterized as a condition where people begin to experience some, but not all, of the effects of T2 diabetes. The blood sugar levels found in individuals with prediabetes are higher than they should be, but not quite high enough to be classified as full Type 2. Similarly, resistance to insulin is higher than it should be, but not so high that the individuals with prediabetes are at as much risk as those with full on Type 2 diabetes. In fact, for this reason prediabetes is also often referred to as either impaired glucose tolerance, or impaired fasting glucose. The exact name depends on the type of test that was given to determine the presence of prediabetes and the preference of your physician. Many people with prediabetes aren’t aware that they have prediabetes, and due to the wide range of possible symptoms, it’s difficult to know exactly who should get tested and who doesn’t need to. Some common rules of thumb are to get tested if you find yourself developing any of the signs or symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. Especially if you notice just a few, but not all, of the symptoms. You should also get tested if you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes, or have other risk factors present either in yourself or in immediate family. Talk to your physicians about your possible risk factors and whet Continue reading >>
4 Steps To Manage Your Diabetes For Life
This publication has been reviewed by NDEP for plain language principles. Learn more about our review process. Actions you can take The marks in this booklet show actions you can take to manage your diabetes. Help your health care team make a diabetes care plan that will work for you. Learn to make wise choices for your diabetes care each day. Step 1: Learn about diabetes. What is diabetes? There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes – Your body does not make insulin. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. You need to take insulin every day to live. Type 2 diabetes – Your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. Gestational (jest-TAY-shun-al) diabetes – Some women get this kind of diabetes when they are pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after the baby is born. But even if it goes away, these women and their children have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life. You are the most important member of your health care team. You are the one who manages your diabetes day by day. Talk to your doctor about how you can best care for your diabetes to stay healthy. Some others who can help are: dentist diabetes doctor diabetes educator dietitian eye doctor foot doctor friends and family mental health counselor nurse nurse practitioner pharmacist social worker How to learn more about diabetes. Take classes to learn more about living with diabetes. To find a class, check with your health care team, hospital, or area health clinic. You can also search online. Join a support group — in-person or online — to get peer support with managing your Continue reading >>
Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity
Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your blood glucose level, also called blood sugar, in your target range. To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are all important in keeping your blood glucose level in the range that your health care team recommends. Becoming more active and making changes in what you eat and drink can seem challenging at first. You may find it easier to start with small changes and get help from your family, friends, and health care team. Eating well and being physically active most days of the week can help you keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target ranges prevent or delay diabetes problems feel good and have more energy What foods can I eat if I have diabetes? You may worry that having diabetes means going without foods you enjoy. The good news is that you can still eat your favorite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often. Your health care team will help create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes. The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan outlines. The food groups are vegetables nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains includes wheat, rice, oats, co Continue reading >>
The importance of both diabetes and these comorbidities will continue to increase as the population ages. Therapies that have proven to reduce microvascular and macrovascular complications will need to be assessed in light of the newly identified comorbidities. Lifestyle change has been proven effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals. Based on this, new public health approaches are emerging that may deserve monitoring at the national level. For example, the Diabetes Prevention Program research trial demonstrated that lifestyle intervention had its greatest impact in older adults and was effective in all racial and ethnic groups. Translational studies of this work have also shown that delivery of the lifestyle intervention in group settings at the community level are also effective at reducing type 2 diabetes risk. The National Diabetes Prevention Program has now been established to implement the lifestyle intervention nationwide. Another emerging issue is the effect on public health of new laboratory based criteria, such as introducing the use of A1c for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or for recognizing high risk for type 2 diabetes. These changes may impact the number of individuals with undiagnosed diabetes and facilitate the introduction of type 2 diabetes prevention at a public health level. Several studies have suggested that process indicators such as foot exams, eye exams, and measurement of A1c may not be sensitive enough to capture all aspects of quality of care that ultimately result in reduced morbidity. New diabetes quality-of-care indicators are currently under development and may help determine whether appropriate, timely, evidence-based care is linked to risk factor reduction. In addition, the scientific evid Continue reading >>
Diabetes Control: Why It's Important
People who have diabetes may hear or read a lot about controlling, or managing, the condition. But what is diabetes control and why is it so important? When you hear your doctors or health care providers talk about "diabetes control," they're usually referring to how close your blood sugar, or , is kept to the desired range. Having too much or too little sugar in your blood can make you feel sick now and cause health problems later. Managing diabetes is like a three-way balancing act: The medicines you take (insulin or pills), the food you eat, and the amount of exercise you getall need to be in sync. don't take diabetes medicines as directed don't follow the meal plan (like eating too much or not enough food without adjusting diabetes medicines) don't get regular exercise or exercise more or less than usual without making changes to the diabetes plan What Can Happen if Diabetes Is Not Under Control? Out-of-control blood sugar levels can lead to short-term problems like hypoglycemia , hyperglycemia , or diabetic ketoacidosis . In the long run, not controlling diabetes can damage important organs, like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. This means that heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems can happen to people with diabetes. These problems don't usually show up in kids or teens who have had the disease for only a few years, but they can happen to adults with diabetes. Kids and teens with diabetes who don't control their blood sugar levels can be late going into puberty and might not end up as tall as they would have otherwise. The good news is that keeping blood sugar levels under control can help keep you healthy and prevent health problems from happening later. How Do I Know When My Diabetes Is Under Control? If you have diab Continue reading >>
6 Things You Should Know About Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common health conditions around the world and in the United States. About 8.5 percent of adults worldwide and 9.3 percent of all Americans live with the condition. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form you may have heard of, but you might be surprised by what you still don’t know. Ongoing research in recent years has improved diagnosis, treatment, and knowledge about type 2 diabetes, allowing for better prevention and management. Here are six things everyone should know about type 2 diabetes. 1. It’s a chronic condition and currently has no cure Simply put, diabetes is a condition that occurs when your body has a problem managing its blood sugar levels. It is due to the body’s inability to either make or use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Either your body doesn’t produce enough or any insulin, or the cells of the body are resistant and unable to use the insulin it creates effectively. If your body can’t use insulin to metabolize glucose, a simple sugar, it will build up in your blood, leading to high blood sugar levels. As a result of cellular resistance, the various cells in your body won’t get the energy they need to function properly, causing further problems. Diabetes is a chronic condition, which means it lasts a long time. Currently, there is no cure, so it takes careful management and sometimes medication to keep blood sugar levels within their target range. 2. It’s on the rise, especially in young adults The number of people with diabetes around the world has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, and type 2 diabetes makes up most of these cases, according to the World Health Organization. Even more concerning is that type 2 diabetes was once only seen in adults but is now more and more Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetes Mellitus? Key Facts To Know
Diabetes mellitus is the formal name for diabetes, and can cover each of the three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. If you received a diabetes diagno-sis later in life, chances are that your doctor has recognized type 2 diabetes mellitus symptoms, and diagnosed you with type 2 diabetes. Here’s what you should know: What is diabetes mellitus? Diabetes mellitus is a chronic, lifelong condition that affects your body’s ability to use the energy found in the food you eat. Your body is meant to break down the sugars and carbohydrates in food into glucose, a special sugar used to fuel the cells in your body. In order to use that fuel, your cells need insulin, a hormone breaks down the glucose and converts it into energy. People with diabetes mellitus have trouble with insulin: either their body doesn’t make enough, it can’t use insulin properly, or both. Because of this, glucose builds up in the blood. What is type 2 diabetes mellitus? Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes, and accounts for roughly 95 percent of diabetes cases in adults. In type 2 diabetes, the body still produces insulin in the pancreas. However, the body is insulin resistant, meaning that the pancreas has to produce more insulin than normal to keep blood sugars even. (Related: Here are 7 signs you could have insulin resistance.) Insulin resistance is associated with obesity, because fat cells are particularly resistant to insulin. Type 2 diabetes mellitus symptoms: Type 2 diabetes symptoms are subtle, so it may take years to detect type 2 diabetes mellitus. Because the body is not processing food correctly, there are a variety of symp-toms that manifest. These include: Increased thirst: High sugars pull fluid from your tissues, making your very thirsty. In Continue reading >>