Health & Wellness from Carol

November: Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is an energy source for your brain, muscles and tissues. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, you have too much glucose in your blood, which can cause serious health problems. Chronic uncontrolled or poorly controlled blood sugar can injure the walls of blood vessels – especially the tiny capillaries where nourishment of tissues and nerves take place. Long term high glucose (hyperglycemia), from poorly controlled diabetes can result in disabling or life threatening complications.

These complications are: Cardiovascular disease; Stroke; Heart attack; Poor circulation in legs; Erectile dysfunction; Kidney disease that can result in kidney failure from poor circulation leading to possibly dialysis (kidney machine) or kidney transplant.; Neuropathy (nerve damage) The symptoms are pain, tingling, numbness, and burning that begin at the tips of toes and/or fingers and spreads upwards.; Fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs; Digestive tract neuropathy with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation; Erectile dysfunction; Eye damage (diabetic retinopathy) is damaged blood vessels that can lead to blindness.; The risk of cataracts and glaucoma is increased with diabetes.; Foot damage from poor blood flow and nerve damage.; Serious infections can occur with cuts and blisters resulting in toe, foot and leg amputations.; Skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections are more common.; Hearing impairment is more common. ; Alzheimer’s disease risk is increased in diabetics; The poorer the sugar control, the greater the risk.

About 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes. About 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. About 5% of diabetics are Type 1. In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted in the blood stream by the pancreas, a gland behind and below the stomach. Insulin enables the transportation of glucose (blood sugar) into the tissues for energy use. Without insulin, the blood glucose begins to rise to dangerous levels. The symptoms depend on the level of one’s blood sugar. The most common symptoms of diabetes include: increased thirst, increased hunger, excessive fatigue, increased urination, especially at night, blurry vision, Irritability, Slow-healing sores, and Frequent infections, such as gums, skin, or vaginal infections Symptoms of type 1 diabetes tend to begin abruptly and dramatically. Type 1 diabetes is most often seen in children, adolescents, and young adults, but can develop at any age. Additionally, people with type 1 diabetes may notice a quick and sudden weight loss. Although some people with diabetes have no symptoms or only mild symptoms untreated diabetes can be very dangerous. If your blood sugar levels become too high, you may develop ketoacidosis, which is a deadly condition where ketones are present in your blood and urine from the breakdown of muscle and fat used for energy instead of glucose.This is more common in people who have type 1 diabetes. Ketoacidosis is an acute complication and can happen quickly. It’s considered a medical emergency. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

More common than type 1 More common after age 40 Tissue cells become resistant to insulin Blood sugar not transported for tissue cell energy and builds up in blood stream Genetics play a factor Linked to being overweight and inactive. More common in blacks, hispanics, American Indians, and Asian-Americans History of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) Having a baby over 9 lbs increases the chance

Also called, borderline diabetes, Impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. 1 in 3 adults has prediabetes Can lead to diabetes Tissue cells are becoming resistant to insulin Blood sugars high but not high enough to be classified as diabetes Potentially reversible with little exercise and a change in diet Genetics play a factor. Linked to being overweight and inactive More common in blacks, hispanics, American indians and Asian-Americans History of gestational diabetes Having a baby over 9 lbs increases the chance.


Lose weight and keep it off – lose 5-7% starting weight Move more – 30 min of physical activity 5 days a week Eat healthy foods most of the time. – smaller portions, less fat, drink water instead of unhealthy beverages

TESTING: Blood test – blood sugar (blood glucose), fasting blood sugar, random blood sugar, A1C Oral glucose tolerance tests

WHO SHOULD GET TESTED? Anyone displaying symptoms Age 45 or older Ages 19-45 if overweight or obese Have one or more risk factors ( family history, race, gestational diabetes, overweight, underactive History of gestational diabetes.

THE USE OF METFORMIN: In prediabetes and diabetes type 2, metformin can be used to restore your body’s response to insulin. This medication is used with proper diet and exercise, and possibly other medications.