Diabetes affects your body's ability to use sugar to make energy. This happens when your pancreas is unable to make the right amounts of insulin to help process sugar or when your body is not able to properly use insulin. The sugar stays in your bloodstream, causing blood sugar levels to increase. If blood sugars are poorly controlled, both short-term and long-term complications can develop. Short-term complications may include dizziness, fatigue, frequent urination, increased hunger or thirst, and even loss of consciousness. Long-term complications include heart, kidney, eye, and nerve damage. In some cases, people need to have their feet or legs amputated due to poor circulation. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 (formerly called insulin-dependent) diabetes. Your pancreas makes very little or no insulin. You'll need regular injections of replacement insulin. Type 2 (formerly called non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. Your body doesn't manufacture enough insulin or has trouble using it. This type, which affects 90% of people with diabetes, can be controlled with diet and medication (pills or insulin injections). Trying to keep blood sugar levels under control requires frequent monitoring, so home testing kits are particularly helpful. Home testing allows you to control your diabetes, instead of it controlling you. It also allows you to see how certain foods and activities affect your blood sugar level. Most blood sugar testing kits consist of a blood sugar monitor and test strips. Put a drop of your blood on the strip and stick it in the meter. The meter gives you a reading of your blood sugar level, usually in under a minute. Some brands of meters store your readings and provide averages. Models are also available that download results to a personal computer d Continue reading >>
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