Diabetes FAQs. What is Diabetes? What is insulin?

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1 Diabetes FAQs What is Diabetes? What is insulin? My doctor said I have pre-diabetes or I am borderline diabetic. Do I need to worry? What is hemoglobin A1c? What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes? What is gestational diabetes? Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes? What are the symptoms for type 2 diabetes? Is there a cure for diabetes? What treatment is available? What are some long term effects of diabetes? How can I prevent type 2 diabetes? How can I be tested for diabetes? How many people have diabetes? What is Diabetes? Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food to use as energy. When you have diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin as well as it should. What is insulin? The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin which helps glucose or sugar get into the cells of our bodies to be used as energy. In this way, insulin also helps control the sugar levels in the blood.

2 My doctor said I have pre-diabetes or I am borderline diabetic. Do I need to worry? This condition means that your pancreas is already starting to fail but this form of diabetes is REVERSIBLE. If you change your lifestyle to include healthy eating (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins and dairy) and physical activity (walking, biking, swimming, anything you enjoy!) then you can reverse the damage and prevent the progression of the disease to diabetes. Research shows that you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58% by losing 7% of your body weight and exercising moderately. What is hemoglobin A1c? Hemoglobin A1c is the amount of sugar attached to red blood cells in your body. About every 2-3 months, red blood cells die, so your A1c number tells your doctor your average blood sugar over the past 2-3 months. What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes? Type 1 diabetes mostly occurs in children and teens. The body does not produce insulin at all. Insulin therapy is needed to manage this type of diabetes. Insulin therapy is administered by using daily insulin injections or an insulin pump. Type 2 diabetes is most common in adults. They have insulin resistance, which means that their bodies do not use insulin properly. As a result, changes to their lifestyle must be made to control diabetes. Knowing what, how much and when to eat and being active will be important steps into taking control of the disease.

3 What is gestational diabetes? Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. If diagnosed, it is important to begin treatment quickly as gestational diabetes can hurt both the mother and the baby. You will need the help of your health care team to determine the best treatment plan that may include special meal plans and scheduled physical activity. Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes? Older adults (over the age of 45*) People with a family history of diabetes People who are overweight People who do not exercise regularly People with high blood pressure and high cholesterol Women who had diabetes when they were pregnant (gestational diabetes) Certain racial and ethnic groups such as: African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asian Americans and American Indian *Note: Type 2 diabetes has increased in young adults because of the overconsumption of fat and sugar and lack of exercise. What are the symptoms for type 2 diabetes? Symptoms can include frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, extreme fatigue, blurred vision, cuts/bruises that are slow to heal, losing weight without trying, tingling and numbness of the feet, and recurring infections.* *Note: Often people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms, so it is important to know your risk.

4 Is there a cure for diabetes? What treatment is available? Right now, there is not a cure for diabetes. Once you have it, you always have it. But, there are treatments to control your blood sugar. Lifestyle changes can be used as treatment for diabetes such as weight loss, eating a good balanced diet, and exercising. You should also talk to your doctor who can determine if pills or insulin should be prescribed. What are some long term effects of diabetes? Diabetes can lead to serious problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, hearing loss, amputations, nerve damage, and kidney disease. How can I prevent type 2 diabetes? The best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes are maintaining a healthy weight, including foods in your diet that are low in fat and sugar, staying active, and also speaking to your doctor regularly about any symptoms you may have. Here are some tips to building a healthier plate when planning your meals: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables Make half your grains whole grains Keep meat serving size to 3 oz---- about the size of the palm of your hand Buy leaner meats such as chicken and turkey Keep serving size for milk and yogurt to 1 cup----about the size of the your fist Buy lower fat dairy products like low-fat or skim milk, yogurt, and cheese Staying active is important, here are some ways you can implement it: Try walking for at least minutes a day. If you want, you can break it up into 10 minute segments or do it all at once. Use the stairs instead of the elevator Stand up! Try standing when you would normally sit, like when you are talking on the phone.

5 Choose activities that you enjoy such as swimming, dancing, bicycling or other exercises that get your heart pumping Remember to begin slowly if you have not exercised in a long time Ask your doctor about the types of activity that meet your physical needs How can I be tested for diabetes? Talk to your doctor about scheduling a blood test. Your doctor can give a diagnosis based on your symptoms, risk factors, physical exam, and blood test results. Your blood sugar test (such as a fasting blood sugar test) will show if you have type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, or neither condition. Two results with high blood sugar on separate occasions are necessary for a proper diagnosis. How many people have diabetes? According to the American Diabetes Association, 18.8 million people in the United States have diabetes that is enough to fill the Bank of America Stadium over 250 times! There are 7 million people living with the disease that do not even know it. If you stood them side by side on interstate 40, they would reach from Wilmington, North Carolina to Los Angeles, California! Final thoughts Continue to remind yourself that everything you are doing to prevent and/or manage diabetes is making a tremendous difference in the quality of your life now and well into the future! Sources: Updated 06/2014

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