HEALTH INFORMATION: DIABETES

Diabetes

DIABETIC HEALTH

DIABETES ALSO KNOWN AS DIABETES MELLITUS IS A CONDITION CHARACTERIZED BY HYPERGLYCEMIA OR ALSO COMMONLY KNOWN AS HIGH SUGAR LEVELS. THIS RESULTS FROM THE BODY’S INABILITY TO UTILIZE BLOOD GLUCOSE FOR ENERGY.

IN TYPE 1 DIABETES, THE PANCREAS CEASES PRODUCTION OF INSULIN AND THEREFORE BLOOD GLUCOSE CANNOT ENTER THE CELLS TO BE USED FOR ENERGY. IN TYPE 2 DIABETES IT’S A RESULT OF EITHER THE PANCREAS DOES NOT MAKE ENOUGH INSULIN OR THE BODY IS UNABLE TO USE INSULIN CORRECTLY.

COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT DIABETES:

HOW CAN I MONITOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRESSION OF DIABETIC COMPLICATIONS?

Eye disease (retinopathy)

All patients with diabetes should see an ophthalmologist yearly for a dilated eye examination — beginning at diagnosis in people with type 2 diabetes, and after 5 years in people with type 1 diabetes after puberty. Patients with known eye disease, symptoms of blurred vision in one eye, or blind spots may need to see their ophthalmologist more frequently.

Kidney disease (nephropathy)

Urine testing should be performed yearly. Regular blood pressure checks are important, since control of hypertension (high blood pressure) is essential in slowing kidney disease. Generally, blood pressure should be maintained less than 130/80 in adults. Persistent leg or foot swelling may be a symptom of kidney disease and should be reported to your doctor.

Nerve disease (neuropathy)

Numbness or tingling in your feet should be reported to your doctor at your regular visits. You should check your feet daily for redness, calluses, cracks, or skin breakdown. If you notice these symptoms before your scheduled visit, notify your doctor immediately.

WHAT ARE INSULIN PUMPS?

Insulin pumps are small, computerized devices, about the size of a beeper, that you wear on your belt or put in your pocket. They have a small flexible tube with a fine needle on the end. The needle is inserted under the skin of your abdomen and taped in place. A carefully measured, steady flow of insulin is released into the tissue. Insulin pumps can cost $6,000 to $10,000 for the pump. There are additional costs for necessary supplies to use the pump.

Using a pump requires you to monitor your blood sugar level at least four times a day. You program doses and make adjustments to your insulin, depending on your food intake and exercise program. Some health care providers prefer the insulin pump over injections because its slow release of insulin mimics a working pancreas.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LOW BLOOD SUGAR?

Most people have symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) when their blood sugar is less than 60 mg/dl. (Your health care provider will tell you how to test your blood sugar level.)

When your blood sugar is low, your body gives out signs that you need food. Different people have different symptoms. You will learn to know your symptoms.

Common low blood sugar symptoms include the following:

Early symptoms

You may:

  • Feel weak
  • Feel dizzy
  • Feel hungry
  • Tremble
  • Feel shaky
  • Sweat
  • Have a pounding heart
  • Have pale skin
  • Feel frightened or anxious

Late symptoms

You may:

  • Feel confused
  • Have a headache
  • Feel cranky
  • Have poor coordination
  • Have bad dreams or nightmares
  • Be unable keep your mind on one subject
  • Feel a numbness in your mouth and tongue
  • Pass out

WHAT SHOULD MY BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL BE?

Blood sugar ranges may be different for each person and can change throughout the day. Your health care provider will tell you what range is good for you. If your blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dl or more than 180 mg/dl for three days in a row, call your health care provider.

CAN DIABETES BE CURED?

No. A cure for diabetes has not yet been found. However, diabetes can be treated and controlled. Most people with diabetes manage their disease and lead normal lives. Without proper care, diabetes can lead to:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Eye damage and blindness
  • Gum disease
  • Serious infections in feet, sometimes requiring amputation
  • Damage to nerves, resulting in pain or loss of sensation

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES?

Type 1 diabetes

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are often severe and sudden. These symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • A need to urinate often
  • Weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
  • Weak, tired feeling
  • Blurred vision

Type 2 diabetes

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes often go unnoticed. These symptoms build up over time and include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing sores or cuts
  • Itchy skin (usually in the vaginal or groin area)
  • Yeast infections
  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • A need to urinate often

CORE DIABETIC KEYWORDS

  • DIABETES
  • TYPE 1 DIABETIC
  • TYPE 2 DIABETIC
  • A1C
  • ADULT ONSET DIABETES
  • AGEs
  • ARTERIOSCLEROSIS
  • BLOOD GLUCOSE
  • BMI [BODY MASS INDEX]
  • ENDOCRINOLOGIST
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HEALTH INFORMATION LINKS

EXTERNAL LINKS ON DIABETIC HEALTH:

THE FOLLOWING LINKS PROVIDED HELPS YOU GAIN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DIABETES.