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

  • 1 Answer
    A
    If you have diabetes your A1C which may be reported as estimated average glucose (eAG)should also be checked every 3 months. Measuring your A1C/eAG tells you how well your treatment program is working. You need this test whether you use insulin or not. The reading tells your average blood glucose reading from the last 2 to 3 months and can predict the likelihood of future eye, kidney, and nerve disease. Ask for the results of your A1C test. ADA’s general target for  A1C/eAG is a level of less than or equal to 7 percent or 154 mg/dl. According to research, this will help you prevent future complications. You can use the results of the A1C/eAG test to compare with your own self-monitoring records. Be sure to discuss your blood glucose readings (always bring your logbook) at every visit. If your daily blood glucose tests are in range but your A1C/eAG is too high, you and your provider need to discuss ways to better manage and monitor your blood glucose levels. It is important to understand why your tests might show good blood glucose readings when your overall blood glucose measure is too high.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    Your schedule will look something like this:

    Every visit
            
    • Blood pressure
    • Weight
    • Foot check

    Every 3 months
        
    • A1C test
    • Regular visits to your diabetes care provider
    • Regular visits to your dentist

    Every year
    HDL, LDL, triglycerides, total cholesterol: for average reading; more often if high levels are being treated
    Kidneys: microalbumin measured;
    Eyes: examined through dilated pupils
    Feet: more often in patients with high-risk foot conditions (neuropathy, vascular disease)
    • Flu shot
    • Review meal plan
    • Update with diabetes educator

    Every 2 years
    HDL, LDL, triglycerides, total cholesterol: if last reading indicates very low risk

    Once

    Pneumococcal vaccine

  • 2 Answers
    A
    The A1C test, also reported as estimated average glucose (eAG) can be done in a laboratory or office or with a mail-in kit you do at home. Blood is collected from a fingerstick or vein. The test measures the concentration of hemoglobin molecules that have glucose attached to them.
    This tells you what your estimated average blood glucose level was over the past 2 to 3 months. It also tells you your level of risk for the long-term complications of diabetes.
    See All 2 Answers
  • 1 Answer
    A
    Hemoglobin is found in red blood cells. It links up with the glucose in your blood to become glycated. The more glucose in your blood, the more hemoglobin will become glycated. Once glycated, the hemoglobin stays that way until the red blood cell’s life is over. This averages about 120 days.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    The A1C test gives you a “long” view of your blood glucose levels because as old red blood cells are dying, new ones are taking their place. If your blood glucose was high last week, then more of your hemoglobin was glycated than usual. Your blood glucose might be back on target this week, but your red blood cells will still be carrying the memory of last week’s high blood glucose level.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    Your A1C reading is not a simple average of all the blood glucose level ups-and-downs over the past 2 to 3 months. It is a weighted average. You never have a complete turnover of red blood cells all at once. Some are dying as others are just coming on board. There are always more young cells than old cells. About half are newer cells, ones formed within the last month. So your glucose levels in the last month count for about half of your A1C measure, and cells from the previous 2 to 3 months make up the other half of the measure.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    Your A1C results give an average of your blood glucose level over a 2-3 month period. Depending on how often you check your blood glucose throughout the day, you may be able to estimate what your A1C when you are tested.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    With the A1C test or eAG, it takes about 2 to 3 months to see all the results of an improvement (or worsening) in blood glucose. This is why there’s really no need to have the test more often than every 3 months. However, if you are newly diagnosed and may have been far out of range for a while, you may want to have your A1C measured every 2 weeks at first. Significant changes in blood glucose can be seen within 2 weeks. Or, for someone who is pregnant and seeking very tight glucose levels, A1C may be measured every month or two to make sure that the treatment plan is getting results.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    The American Diabetes Association publishes a Consumer Guide in their January issue of Diabetes Forecast. You can also buy the
    guide separately or view it online at forecast.diabetes.org/consumerguide.

    The Consumer Guide lists the latest offerings of diabetes tools from
    manufacturers.
  • 1 Answer
    A

    Blood glucose levels change throughout the day. This is true for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes:

    • Food pushes the blood glucose level up.

    • Insulin or an oral diabetes medication brings it down.

    • Stress drives it up.

    • Exercise can bring it down.

    • Illness makes it rise.

    Diet, activity, stress, and overall general health all affect blood glucose levels. Everyone with diabetes responds somewhat differently to each of these. It would be wonderful if there was a magic formula to tell you how to arrive at the right blood glucose level. Instead, you’ll need to discover how each of these factors affects your blood glucose level. Knowing how much to eat, how much to exercise, and how much insulin or medication to take is not always easy. You are likely to feel frustrated at times. Look to your health care team for support. They can also help you learn to understand the meaning of your self-monitoring results and what to do about them.