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

  • 6 Answers
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    A Emilia Klapp, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    In a person without diabetes, the body keeps its blood-glucose level between meals in a range of about 70 to 99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). This level will rise after eating, depending on the type and amount of food consumed, but it will not exceed 139 mg/dL. It also quickly returns to the between-meal range.
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    An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is a test done to see how well the body handles a standard amount of glucose. The OGTT measures the amount of glucose in your plasma before and two hours after drinking a large premeasured beverage containing glucose (typically 75 grams). A doctor can compare the before and after glucose levels to see how well the body processed the sugar.

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    Some hospitals offer a new type of surgery known as metabolic surgery. By surgically modifying the digestive system (with gastric bypass), surgeons have been able to reduce the severity of or eliminate Type 2 diabetes in obese patients.

    This program is based on work with morbidly obese patients, where doctors discovered that 90% of morbidly obese patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery experienced a reversal of diabetes – often within days to weeks of the surgery, and apparently independent of weight loss.

    Doctors also conducting clinical trials to treat Type 2 diabetes in patients with moderate to mild obesity, or no obesity at all.

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    A Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    Scientific studies have examined the potential role that certain dietary supplements may play in regulating blood sugar. Among the supplements that have been studied are chromium, alpha lipoic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, garlic, magnesium and ginseng. Although research continues, so far there is no solid scientific evidence that dietary supplements offer substantial benefits for diabetes or managing blood sugar. Furthermore, experts stress that no one should substitute dietary supplements for proven medical therapies for diabetes. You should always discuss supplements or any alternative therapies with your doctor before trying them.
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    AHealthy Humans answered
    A whole foods diet (fresh foods in their natural state versus processed and "fast foods") is the best diet strategy for anyone, including those individuals with diabetes. For a more structured approach, after years of studies and research in the diabetes community, it appears that the most successful strategy is to follow a "Mediterranean-type" diet with fresh (preferably organic) vegetables in abundant quantities, as well as nuts and extra-virgin olive oil as two of the major sources of beneficial dietary fats. With this diet, fresh fruit is consumed in moderation and low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry (remove the skin before eating) are consumed in low to moderate amounts, with red meat eaten sparingly and infrequently. This type of diet is typically moderate in fat quantity, with fat (primarily from olive oil and nuts) comprising 25‐35% of total daily calories and unhealthy saturated animal fat less than 10%. The Mediterranean-type diet has been shown to prevent prediabetes and diabetes when it is combined with regular exercise.
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    A Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    People with type 2 diabetes cannot eat as much fruit as they may want, even though fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The problem is that it contains carbohydrates that break down into glucose (sugar) when digested. Insulin is needed to allow the glucose to be used by the body’s cells. People with type 2 diabetes either have cells resistant to the effects of insulin or they simply don’t make enough of it.

    That’s why part of managing type 2 diabetes is watching what you eat and limiting the number of carbohydrates you consume. Depending on your size, activity level and the need to lose weight, you can have two to four servings of fruit a day. Choose fresh fruit, or frozen or canned fruit without added sugar. Talk to your dietitian or diabetes educator about what your meal plan should include.

     Remember that one serving size of fruit equals:
    • a small piece of whole fruit, like an apple or orange
    • 1/2 cup of frozen or canned fruit (canned in juice or light syrup)
    • 3/4 to 1 cup of berries or melon
    • 2 tablespoons of dried fruit like raisins or dried cherries
    • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of juice
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    A Dr. Sylvester Quevedo, Nephrology, answered on behalf of Healthy Humans
    That is a very broad question since there are hundreds of studies published in the field of diabetes research every year. However, as an example, let's take a look at recent ADA (American Diabetes Association) -funded research in the specific areas of nutrition and diabetic heart and blood vessel disease: Mediterranean diet and incidence of and mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke in women, by Teresa T. Fund, et al., published in Circulation 119:1093‐1100, 2009. Study Summary: Women can reduce their risk of having a heart attack or stroke by following a "Mediterranean" diet that is rich in monounsaturated fat, plant-based protein, whole grains, and fish, with only moderate amounts of alcohol, and low in red meat, refined grains, and sweets. Diet soda intake and risk of incident metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in the Multi‐Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, by Jennifer A. Nettleton, et al., published in Diabetes Care 32:726‐688‐694, 2009. Study Summary: People who drank diet soda at least once a day had a 36% greater chance of having a high waist measurement and high blood glucose levels. People who drank diet soda at least once a day also had a 67% higher chance of getting diabetes compared to those who did not drink diet sodas, and this was not related to body fat measurements. Body mass index and vigorous physical activity and the risk of heart failure among men, by Satish Kenchaiahm et al., Published in Circulation 119:44‐52, 2009 Study Summary: After taking other factors into account, every increase of 1 in BMI (Body Mass Index) raised the chance of having heart failure by 11%. Compared to lean participants, those who were overweight were 49% more likely and those who were obese were 180% more likely to suffer from heart failure. Getting vigorous exercise lowered the risk of heart failure by about 18%. Lean active men had the lowest and obese inactive men had the highest chances of having heart failure.
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