Urban Healthcare Initiative Program
What is Diabetes?
What is Diabetes?
A condition where your body is no longer able to regulate your blood sugar. Either you don’t make enough insulin (type 1), or your cells have become resistant to it (type 2).
When you eat, your body converts the sugar and carbohydrates from food into glucose, a sugar that can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Insulin helps your cells absorb the glucose, giving them the energy they need to work properly.
With diabetes, your cells can’t absorb the glucose, so they starve and stop working. Since the glucose isn’t being used, it builds up in your bloodstream, eventually becoming toxic. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is still making insulin trying to process all that extra glucose, which causes toxic levels of insulin, too.
Symptoms of Diabetes Complications
Have you already been diagnosed with Diabetes but are concerned about symptoms that may be the result of complications related to diabetes?
Am I at Risk for Diabetes?
Anyone can get diabetes. However, you have a higher risk if you are:
- Inactive (exercise less than three times a week)
- African American/Black, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, or Asian
- Age 45 or older
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Have abnormal blood fat (cholesterol or triglycerides)
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes. See your doctor for regular screenings
The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.
Common symptoms of diabetes:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes.
The ABCs of Diabetes
A stands for A1C
The A1C test measures the average amount of sugar that has been in your blood over the past 2 to 3 months. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends an A1C goal of less than 7% for many adults with diabetes. The A1C goal for some people may need to be higher or lower. Ask your doctor what is the right A1C goal for you
B stands for blood pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood moving through your blood vessels. Many people with type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure. High blood pressure means that your heart is working harder than it should to pump blood through your body. You should have your blood pressure checked every time you visit your doctor.
C stands for cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the blood. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) are 2 types of cholesterol in your blood. LDL is “bad” because it narrows or blocks blood vessels. This can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. HDL is often called “good” because it can carry “bad” cholesterol away from the walls of your arteries. Cholesterol levels are checked with a blood test. Most adults should have a fasting lipid profile done at least once a year. Your doctor will set goals that are right for you.
For more information: www.Diabetes.org
Blood Sugar Level
Maintain Steady Blood Sugar Levels
Since high blood sugar is so dangerous, and is the main indicator of diabetes, people mistakenly think low blood sugar is the main goal of treatment. Not true; low blood sugar starves your cells, too.
The main goal when you’re diabetic is to keep blood sugar levels steady and consistent. It’s the up-and-down, not just the “up”, that really wreaks havoc on your body.
- 100 – 140 is where you want to keep it
- 140 – 160 is high, over 160 is dangerous – and over 200 can be fatal
- Under 100 is low, under 80 is too low – under 60 and you’ll probably pass out.
- See your physician to develop a treatment plan that is best for you.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Type 2 is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications (pills), and insulin.
- When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:
- Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.
Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.
Some people with type 2 can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active. But, your doctor may need to also prescribe oral medications or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels. Type 2 usually gets worse over time – even if you don’t need medications at first, you may need to later on.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.
In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives.
For more information contact your medical provider or go to: www.diabetes.org