Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

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    It's a big decision to make, but rescheduling may be the right choice if your blood glucose is way out of range on test day. The SAT and ACT, which are administered several times a year, have policies that permit students to cancel their scores in the case of a medical situation -- a hypoglycemic event, for example -- that occurs during the test. Depending on the test and circumstances, you may have to pay an additional fee to reschedule. If you are unable to take the PSAT, you should document your blood glucose and all other symptoms and contact the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for information on rescheduling as soon as possible so that you can still compete for a scholarship. If you feel that you will not be able to complete Advance Placement (AP) exams or International Baccalaureate (IB) assessments, do not begin them; document your blood glucose and all other symptoms, and immediately contact your Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator or IB coordinator to speak about rescheduling options.
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    Testing agencies have strict policies that prevent students from taking additional or extended breaks or bringing snacks, drinks, and electronic devices into testing areas unless they have advance permission. Therefore, remember that you have to specifically request any necessary diabetes supplies and equipment, snacks, bathroom breaks, and extended breaks. You may be placed in a separate room or testing location with a separate proctor. And don't be surprised if the accommodations you are granted differ from those you receive at your high school. Testing agencies conduct their own review of your situation. For example, even if you are given extra time on your tests in high school, for the standardized tests you may only be allowed extended breaks between sections.
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    Because the process of obtaining accommodations can take several months, it is essential to begin early. Students who plan to take the PSAT should contact their Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator the semester before the test. For the Advanced Placement exams, let your coordinator know as soon as you sign up. You'll need to register separately with each testing agency you plan to use.
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    Getting accommodations if you have diabetes may be easier if you already have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), Section 504 Plan, or other formal written plan at your high school. Don't have one? You can still request accommodations from the testing agencies; you'll just have to provide the right documentation (and even if you have a plan in place, you may still need additional paperwork). At a minimum, you should be prepared to supply a letter from your doctor confirming your diagnosis and detailing specific accommodations needed. For example, students with stable blood glucose levels may only need extended breaks between sections of tests, while students experiencing swings in blood glucose levels may need permission to take breaks as necessary.
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    At its core, effective school-based diabetes management requires three things:

    1. All school staff members who have responsibility for a child with diabetes should receive training that provides a basic understanding of the disease and the child's needs, how to identify medical emergencies, and which school staff members to contact with questions or in case of an emergency.

    2. The school nurse holds the primary role of coordinating, monitoring, and supervising the care of a student with diabetes. However, in addition to any full- or part-time school nurse, a small group of school staff members should receive training from a qualified healthcare professional in routine and emergency diabetes care so that a staff member is always available for younger or less experienced students who require assistance with their diabetes management (e.g., administering insulin, checking their blood glucose, choosing appropriate food) and for all children with diabetes in case of an emergency (including administration of glucagon). These staff members should be school personnel who have volunteered to do these tasks and do not need to be healthcare professionals.

    3. Children possessing the necessary skills and maturity to do so should be permitted to self-manage their disease in the classroom or wherever they are in conjunction with a school-related activity. Such self-management should include monitoring blood glucose and responding to blood glucose levels with needed food and medication while utilizing appropriate safety protocols.

    These principles are based on recommendations from the diabetes healthcare community and form the cornerstone of effective school diabetes care.
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    Your A1C reflects your average blood glucose level for the two to three month period before a test. Your healthcare provider uses it to determine how well you are managing your blood sugar. A goal of less than 7 percent is desirable, which corresponds to an average blood glucose level of 150 mg/dL.
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    You can limit the number of calories you eat each day, without eliminating your favorite foods. You just need to know how much to cut back on the amount of food you eat. This is known as "portion control." If you have diabetes and are overweight, shedding those extra pounds by reducing your calorie intake and eating smaller portions can help lower your blood glucose levels.
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    When a child has diabetes, the family’s potential for stress is high. The child with diabetes, parents and siblings all feel their own share of stress. Stress is a physical and mental reaction to perceived danger. Conditions that seem uncontrollable or require emotional and behavioral change tend to be perceived as a threat.

    When the body and mind sense a threat, they get ready to either run or fight. Whether the threat is real or imagined, the body prepares for survival by turning up some bodily functions while turning others down. In either case, over time these changes are serious and over time are harmful.

    Over time, stress is harmful because it causes so much wear and tear on the body. For example, the heart works faster and harder in preparation for physical action. The increase in pulse and blood pressure causes a strain on the heart, veins and arteries.

    Prolonged stress also has a negative impact on other bodily systems:
    • Immune
    • Digestive
    • Renal (kidney)
    • Reproductive
    In addition, the ability to think clearly and to make good decisions is impaired when the mind is burdened with worry, anxiety or fear. This constant mental strain can also increase the risk for depression.
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    AAmerican Red Cross answered
    Signs of a diabetic emergency include:
    • Changes in the level of consciousness
    • Changes in mood
    • Rapid breathing and pulse
    • Feeling and looking ill
    • Dizziness and headache
    • Confusion
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    AAndrea Pennington, MD, Integrative Medicine, answered
    Gymnema sylvestre certainly could serve as the backbone of a natural diabetes program. It has been used in India for the treatment of diabetes for more than 2,000 years. Used primarily for type 2 diabetes, its benefits extend to type l and it continues to be recommended today in India. The leaves help raise insulin levels. Gurmar, an extract of gymnema, tends to be a blood sugar balancer, lowering glucose significantly only in hyperglycemic people. It also significantly improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels.