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.

Recently Answered

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    Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage in the body. ALA also may have a modest effect on neuropathy, the nerve pain associated with diabetes. Neuropathy pain theoretically occurs when blood glucose levels are uncontrolled for many years, which can lead to cell damage. Studies suggest 600 mg of ALA per day could reduce neuropathy pain up to 50% in as little as 3 to 6 weeks.

    Although this supplement may be useful for helping neuropathy pain associated with diabetes, it has not had a major impact in this area. It is important to discuss the use of FDA-approved medications for neuropathy, as well as all supplements such as ALA, with your caregiver before taking anything that is sold over the counter.

    This content originally appeared in the Taking Control of Your Diabetes newsletter on tcoyd.org.
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    The word “advocate” means “to voice.” It’s important to remember that there are everyday opportunities for you—a person with diabetes—to apply your voice.

    Consider this: There are 90 million people in the United States with prediabetes and 29 million people with diabetes. Everyone with diabetes deserves to have our stories heard. We are stakeholders in our own healthcare story. Sometimes, we are shut out from conversations about, “the patient,” “the taxpayer,” “the customer,” and “the diabetic.” The word advocacy may turn some people away. It sounds like legalese. Surely advocates are the people you can call on to rush in on your behalf and fight for your rights, right? Yes, that’s one definition. But that’s why you need a voice, too.

    When you admit to your friend that their joke about diabetes is rooted in myth and stigma, you have just done diabetes advocacy. When you tell your doctor that you don’t like the side effects of your medication and need to talk about alternatives, you have just advocated for yourself. Did you write a letter to an editor about the diabetes misinformation in his or her piece in the news? That’s advocacy, too. And, yes, when you take it all the way to the Hill or just as far as your local representative’s email inbox, that’s advocacy.
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    If you are planning to travel and have diabetes, get a medical exam before you go. Schedule a pre-travel checkup with your healthcare professional about four to six weeks before your trip, for any kind of travel.

    Be sure to get any immunizations you may need early enough so you’ll have time to recover if they affect you. Get a prescription for insulin or diabetes pills you may need while gone and a letter from your doctor explaining what you need to do to manage your diabetes, such as take insulin or diabetes pills. The letter should list any medications or devices you use, as well as any allergies you have.
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    A , Emergency Medicine, answered
    Side effects may include low blood pressure, dehydration, flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, increased urine, urinary tract infections, nausea, constipation, high blood potassium, increased LDL cholesterol, low blood sugar, and genital fungal infections. Some people have an allergic reaction.

    The FDA has warned that SGLT2 inhibitors may lead to ketoacidosis, a serious condition in which there is too much acid in the blood. The FDA has also warned that SGLT2 inhibitors can cause serious urinary tract infections that can result in blood or kidney infections. All these conditions can require hospitalization.

    ​​​​​​This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 
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    Skin changes that might suggest you have diabetes include the following:
    • darkened skin behind the neck, in the groin area, or in the axilla (armpit)
    • wounds or sores that do not heal well
    • dry or thickened skin
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    A blood glucose test is a laboratory test that measures the level of sugar (glucose) in a sample of your blood. Blood glucose tests may be performed on blood taken after you have fasted for several hours, or randomly during a normal day when you haven't fasted. Your doctor may order a blood glucose test to check to see if you have:
    • hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
    • hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
    • diabetes, if you are at risk for the condition
    • prediabetes
    • gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
    In some people, a blood glucose test can help diagnose diabetes in a very early stage, before symptoms are apparent. Your doctor may also use blood glucose testing as a method for monitoring your sugar levels if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes.

    A blood glucose test can also be an important tool for diagnosing other conditions that can affect the level of sugar in your blood. For example, a high glucose level can be caused by an overactive thyroid gland or pancreatic cancer. A low glucose level may be caused by an underactive thyroid gland or a disorder of the pituitary gland.
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    What new research is being done for diabetes?
    There are currently multiple studies and new medications coming out for diabetes treatment. In this video, Michelle Lalick, RN, BSN, CDE, of Mercy Health, explains some of the treatments and advances in technology now available.

    Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
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    Jardiance (empagliflozin) lowers your HbA1c and blood glucose in a very interesting way – extra glucose leaves your body when you pee (or urinate). 

    The body is very good at soaking up any blood sugar in the urine back into your bloodstream. A protein located in the kidney called SGLT-2 (sodium glucose transporter) helps do this.  

    Jardiance is a type of drug called a SGLT-2 inhibitor. That means it blocks this protein, so glucose leaves your body through the urine, lowering your blood glucose level.  The amount of glucose that is removed from the body into the urine with Jardiance treatment is about equal to 40-50 sugar cubes a day.
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    It is important to know whether you have type 1, type 2 or another type of diabetes because the treatment strategies for each differ. Some studies suggest that early insulin treatment in people with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) may help keep beta cells (those that produce insulin in the pancreas) alive and functioning longer. Whereas people with type 1 need to take insulin, people with type 2 may not. Type 2 diabetes can usually be managed with lifestyle changes and, if needed, medication. The American Diabetes Association recommends that all people diagnosed with type 2 be started on metformin (a medication that helps lower blood glucose by making sure the liver does not make too much glucose), unless contraindicated. However, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the need for medications with lifestyle changes. Because type 2 is progressive, many people who start out on oral medications may eventually need insulin therapy. This does not mean that you have failed at managing your diabetes, or that your type 2 has become type 1. Instead, it simply means that your type 2 diabetes has progressed to a more advanced stage.

    Knowing how your disease is affecting your body is important and can help you better manage your diabetes. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have questions about what type of diabetes you have.
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    Trulicity (dulaglutide) comes in an easy-to-use injection pen. Pick any day of the week that works best for you and make that your “Trulicity Day!” It’s as easy as uncapping the device, placing the pen on an injection site on your body and unlocking and pressing the auto injector button. After pressing to inject, hold it for 5-10 seconds until you hear the release click. You never see the needle!

    Your doctor or pharmacist will help you decide what the best injection site will be for you. Typically this is your stomach, thigh or upper arm. You should change the injection site weekly – either choose a new area or rotate within the same spot. Once used, you can throw away the pen in a sharps disposal container. New pens should be stored in a refrigerator, away from light and in the original box.