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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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    The high insulin levels can harm you in three ways.

    First, the insulin can cause your blood pressure to rise and you can develop high blood pressure. Second, the insulin can adversely affect your cholesterol profile, raising your triglyceride level and lowering your good, protective HDL cholesterol level. Finally, the insulin goes to your fat cells and promotes fat deposits, especially in the area around the waist, giving you an apple-shaped body that is particularly bad for your heart.

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    Your diabetes care provider may already use a team approach and may already be in contact with other team members. If they are not already in touch, make sure all team members know about everyone else on your team. Ask your health care team to consult with each other whenever appropriate. Be sure that they have each other’s phone numbers and addresses. If you are making any lifestyle adjustments - quitting smoking, starting a weight loss diet, or taking up jogging, for example - make sure you notify all team members.

    Remember, your health care team is there to help you manage your diabetes. They can provide a wealth of information and the resources you need to make the decisions that affect your health. But you are the one who ultimately makes the decisions and puts your health care plan into action.
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    A answered
    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 , Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    In our diabetic bodies, sugar piles up. The lack of insulin or the presence of lazy insulin (called insulin resistance) keeps the glucose from the cells where it is needed. As a result, the bloodstream becomes flooded with the sugar that can’t get into the cells, setting off a cascade of trouble.

    High levels of sugar in your blood make it corrosive, turning the life-sustaining soup into a killing battery acid circulating throughout your body. This acidic blood can damage cells, tissue, and organs.
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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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    You may ask what the big deal is with the word “diabetic.” In short, it is not helpful to label someone as their disease. People have diabetes -- they aren’t their diabetes. You wouldn’t call somebody with cancer a “canceric.”

    While it is easy short-hand to say “diabetic,” it doesn’t communicate anything helpful about diabetes. Indeed, calling someone "diabetic" tends to spread misinformation and encourage stereotypes. People with diabetes are a very diverse group of people with different needs. They are living a life with diabetes.
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    See Me. See Diabetes. (SMSD) is a movement to promote a change in the way we think and talk about diabetes. The goal is to challenge misinformation and stereotypes. Instead, it puts forward messages to help all people with diabetes feel understood, empowered and cared for. 

    SMSD launched in 2015 with their first initiative, the No “-IC” Challenge -- a commitment to not use the word “diabetic” to describe people with diabetes. The No “-IC” Challenge encourages people living with diabetes to tackle misinformation and stereotypes by taking the opportunity to say what diabetes is and what they would like others to know about it. The purpose of this challenge is to take a small step towards promoting empathy and understanding about life with diabetes, not to make people offended by the word “diabetic.” Even if being called a diabetic doesn’t bother you at all, you can still take the challenge.
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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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    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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    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.