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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    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 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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    A , Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    How is body composition related to insulin resistance?

    Body composition is the amount of muscle vs. fat we have, and how it's metabolized; those who have muscle usually don't become insulin resistant, while people with excess body fat can. Watch endocrinologist Reza Yavari, MD, explain this concept.

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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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    The term "diabetes" refers to a number of diseases, the most common being type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. In each, the body does not produce or properly use insulin -- a hormone that is needed to convert sugar starches and other food into the energy we need to live.
    • Type 1 diabetes -- In this type of diabetes, the body fails to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose (sugar) to enter and fuel them. People who have type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to survive.
    • Type 2 diabetes -- This is the most common form of diabetes. It develops when the body cannot produce or properly use insulin. Older people (and minorities) carry the highest risk for type 2, but a growing number of children and young adults are now being diagnosed with it.
    • Gestational diabetes -- This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and then usually goes away after the baby is born. It's very important to treat gestational diabetes because it can harm the developing fetus. Mothers who experience gestational diabetes are also at greatly increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
    • Prediabetes -- This is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 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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    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
    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.