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Answering Your Questions About Diabetes

1. What is diabetes?

According to the CDC, diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. The majority of what we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) for our bodies to use for energy. Insulin, a hormone that comes from the pancreas, is what your body’s cells use to help glucose be absorbed for use. Diabetes is when your body does not produce enough insulin, or cannot use the insulin as well as it should. This can result in chronically elevated blood sugar levels if not treated properly.

2. What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Urinating frequently

  • Unusual thirst

  • Increased feelings of hunger – even though you are eating

  • Slow to health wounds

  • Weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Blurry vision

  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet

Source: American Diabetes Association

3. How is diabetes diagnosed?

Diagnosing diabetes can be done in several ways. Testing should always be carried out in a healthcare setting. There are four primary methods used to diagnose diabetes:

  • A1C – measures average blood glucose over the past 2 to 3 months. Diabetes is diagnosed at an A1C of greater than or equal to 6.5%.

  • Fasting Plasma Glucose – checks your fasting blood glucose levels. Diabetes is diagnosed at values greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl.

  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test – 2-hour test that checks blood glucose levels before and after consuming a special sugary drink. Diabetes is diagnosed at 2-hour blood glucose greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl.

  • Random Plasma Glucose Test – blood check at any time of day, given when extreme diabetes symptoms present. Diabetes is diagnosed at blood glucose greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl.

Source: American Diabetes Association

4. What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

  • Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin-Dependent): Commonly referred to as “juvenile” diabetes, because it usually develops in children and teenagers. The body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of its pancreas, decreasing the overall amount of insulin available to the body.

  • Type 2 Diabetes (Non-Insulin Dependent): Also called “adult-onset” diabetes, since it typically develops after the age of 35. However, due to increased rates of obesity more diagnoses are occurring in younger people. People with Type 2 are capable of producing insulin, but it is not able to be used as well by the body.

Source: Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

5. What is prediabetes?

Blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Sometimes referred to as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose. There are no obvious symptoms for prediabetes, and it is often discovered during routine health checks or diabetes screenings.

Source: American Diabetes Association

6. What is the treatment for diabetes?

Treatment typically involves diet control, exercise, in home glucose testing and for some medication and insulin.

Source: CDC

7. How is the specific treatment for diabetes determined?

Depending on if you have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your treatment options will differ. It is important to work with a physician to determine the best treatment options for you. Your treatment plan may include:

Personalized diet plan
Insulin or other medications
Exercise regime
For a more detailed look at personalized treatment options for diabetes, check out our blog: A Diabetes Care Plan for You.

7. Is it possible to reverse diabetes?

There is currently no cure for diabetes. However, through positive lifestyle choices and under proper care from your physician, diabetes can be managed, allowing you to live a normal life.

8. What are some risk factors for developing diabetes?

Several risk factors are associated with developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Family history

  • Overweight/obese

  • Poor diet

  • Lack of physical activity or exercise

  • Age

  • High blood pressure

  • Ethnicity

  • History of gestational diabetes

Source: International Diabetes Federation

9. How are obesity and overweight classifications defined?

According to the CDC Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity is as follows:

  • If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.

  • If your BMI is 18.5 to <25, it falls within the normal.

  • If your BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.

  • If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

A BMI above 30 can be divided into further classes of obesity:

  • Class 1: BMI of 30 to < 35

  • Class 2: BMI of 35 to < 40

  • Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. Class 3 obesity is sometimes categorized as “extreme” or “severe” obesity.

However, these values are for the purposes of screening and an in-depth look physical should be performed to determine true physical well-being.

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