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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    Smoking doesn’t cause diabetes, but over time, smoking damages your heart and circulatory system by hardening your blood vessels. Narrow blood vessels can restrict the flow of blood to cells in your body. These cells can die, and the damage can lead to lung disease, heart disease, impotence, and amputation. If you smoke now, talk to the members of your health care team about strategies that can help you quit.
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    A Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered on behalf of
    What does having high blood sugar mean?
    High blood sugar occurs when your body cannot fully process the sugar or glucose from the food you eat. In this video, Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, an endocrinologist at Scripps Health, explains the role insulin plays.
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    A , Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    If you take care of yourself and treat your diabetes carefully, you can actually become much healthier than the average American who does not have diabetes.

    I am healthier with diabetes than I was without it. I think about my body, what I put into it, what I ask it to do. I am more keenly aware of my mortality, and yet will probably live longer and sweeter than I would have had diabetes not joined my team.
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    Maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) usually affects young adults, but can also affect teens and children. It can be misdiagnosed as type 1 in younger patients. Adults with MODY develop diabetes at a younger age than most type 2 patients and do not tend to be overweight or sedentary. In the past, people with MODY were often told they had a form of type 2 diabetes. We now know that MODY is caused by a genetic mutation that leads to impaired insulin secretion. Insulin resistance, which is often found in type 2 diabetes, does not usually occur in MODY. If you have MODY, you may be able to manage your blood glucose levels through diet and exercise alone, at least for a while. However, therapies that work for people with type 2 diabetes do not always work for people with MODY. You may have more success with insulin therapy or oral agents that stimulate insulin secretion.
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    A Fitness, answered on behalf of
    This is a tough question because insulin responds to virtually everything you put in your body.  But we will briefly describe insulin’s functions: insulin is a hormone that promotes the body’s use of glucose (blood sugar), protein synthesis (the making or repairing of tissues) and storage of nutrients, some of which you may not immediately need. Insulin is the primary hormone the body uses to maintain your blood sugar within a healthy range. Therefore when you consume foods, and especially carbohydrates (because they are the first foods converted to blood sugar), you illicit an insulin response in order to keep you alive. Inadequate secretion of insulin (poor response) results in the improper metabolism of carbohydrates, protein & fats, leading to diabetes characterized by high blood sugar that then causes many other health problems.
    If you eat pure sugar on an empty stomach, you will get large quantities in the blood very fast, which will then trigger an immediate insulin response that might “overreact” and send your blood sugar to the low side of normal, making you feel temporarily weak or dizzy. If you are basically healthy this feeling passes quickly or you may want to eat something that contains carbohydrates, but less sweet to improve your mood until everything normalizes. To avoid this, don’t eat pure “sugar” by itself on an empty stomach or other very simple carbohydrate treats in this manner. It's always best to eat meals containing all 3 macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates and fats, because it helps maintain steady blood sugar.
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    Insulin helps keep blood glucose levels on target by moving glucose from the blood into your body's cells. Your cells then use the glucose for energy. In people who don't have diabetes, the body makes the right amount of insulin on its own. But, when you have diabetes, you and your doctor must decide how much insulin you need throughout the day and night.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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    A answered
    Common symptoms for diabetes include frequent thirst, urination, hunger and tiredness, as well as spotty vision, irritability and numbness (or decreased sensation) in the hands and feet. Unfortunately, the many symptoms of diabetes are often casually ignored or misconstrued as symptoms associated with aging. 
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    A , Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    More than 4,000 Americans were diagnosed with diabetes on the same day you were. And the same thing is happening today. And 4,000 more will join us tomorrow. That's almost 1.5 million Americans every year who are diagnosed with diabetes.
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    Becoming a diabetes advocate lets you use your voice and tell your point of view. The healthcare climate today is stuck in a political gridlock, to the point that it can feel useless to fight. Yet, you should consider two things: No one can tell your story, and every citizen has the right to be heard by his or her representative. That’s actually the most beautiful thing about a representative democracy. Your congressional representatives care about the votes in their district.

    Every person has the right to be heard by his or her representative. In the past, bills have been introduced to Congress asking for:
    • diabetes education through telehealth services
    • medical nutrition therapy
    • diabetes supplies
    Other legislation has proposed the formation of a clinical care commission that would foster more effective coordination of care among healthcare providers for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. However, out of our 50 great states, in 2012, only 12 states had more than a mere $1,000 total in their state budgets specifically for diabetes prevention and screening. Thirty-six of our 50 states allocated $0 specifically for diabetes.

    With each new legislative session, we have opportunities to comment on federal and state policies affecting people with diabetes. With each new device or drug discussed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we have opportunities for commenting on a docket, we, the people.

    The path before us is not an easy one, but the road is wide enough for us all to walk together and we need you to walk with us. You have a story. Share it. You have a voice.
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    It is recommended that you see a dietitian whenever you are having problems reaching your blood glucose targets. It is a good idea to see a dietitian once a year even if you aren’t having problems with diabetes care. A registered dietitian is a member of your health care team who has training and expertise in food and nutrition. For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, whether or not you take insulin or other medication, a balanced meal plan is critical to living well with diabetes. You and your dietitian can develop a meal plan that has food you enjoy and that will help you balance your food and exercise. You may want help in adapting your diet to special goals, such as losing weight, reducing dietary fat or sodium, or complementing a regular exercise program. Your dietitian can help ensure that your diet achieves these goals and that it accommodates your likes and dislikes, culture, schedule, and lifestyle.
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