Diabetes Health Education
Do you have diabetes? Whether you were recently diagnosed or you’ve been diabetic for a while, it’s vital to monitor and control your blood sugar level in order to manage the disease. Yet this is not an easy task and can be quite confusing at times.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that helps convert glucose (a type of sugar) into energy for the body. Because insulin doesn’t work like it should, glucose doesn’t get converted into energy and blood sugar levels increase. Too much sugar in the blood can make you sick and result in medical complications.
There are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8% of the population, who have diabetes, and some 5.7 million people (nearly one quarter) are unaware that they have the disease. There are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes may be inherited but the true causes are unknown. Type 2 diabetes can also be hereditary or can result from environmental factors such as poor diet, obesity, and lack of exercise. People with metabolic syndrome are often pre-disposed to type 2 diabetes.
The Different Types of Diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disorder resulting from the body’s failure to produce insulin. Less than 10% of diabetics are type 1. Onset of the disease generally occurs in children and adolescents but adults can develop type 1 also, although this is infrequent. Type 1 diabetes can only be treated with insulin. Diet and exercise alone will not regulate blood sugar in a type 1 diabetic.
- Type 2 diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, results from insulin resistance (the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not properly use insulin). This is the most common form of diabetes and can often be treated with weight control, proper diet, and exercise. There are also oral medications that can aid the body in properly using insulin. In some cases, type 2 diabetes may require insulin therapy.
- Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are 57 million Americans who have pre-diabetes, in addition to the 23.6 million with diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar (glucose) levels during pregnancy.
There is no cure for diabetes. People with diabetes need to diligently manage their disease to remain healthy and reduce the risk of medical complications.
At Mainline Health Systems, we can help diagnose and treat all types of diabetes. Our diabetes management specialists can assist you in living a healthier lifestyle by giving you strategies to keep your diabetes under control. To get started, make an appointment today at one of our six convenient locations in Dermott, Portland, Eudora, Wilmot, Monticello, and Star City, Arkansas, or request an appointment online.