Diabetes

Diabetes – Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to lower blood glucose by decreasing the production of glucose by the liver and increasing the use and storage of glucose. Due to the inability to produce or properly use insulin, patients with diabetes develop high blood glucose (hyperglycemia), which places them at a high risk for a number of short-term and long-term medical complications. Diabetes is the most common cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputations in adults, as well as a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

Type 1 Diabetes – Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of the body’s cells that produce insulin. The cause of this destruction is not entirely clear but appears to be related to an immune system dysfunction. The end result is a complete lack of insulin production, and type 1 diabetes patients must inject insulin to control their blood glucose. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. Individuals with family members who have type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk for developing Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 – In type 2 diabetes, the body maintains its ability to produce insulin but becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin or is unable to produce enough insulin to meet the body’s demand. Some type 2 diabetics are able to control their high blood glucose through the use of oral medications and do not require insulin. Type 2 diabetes is typically diagnosed later in life than type 1 diabetes.

Gestational – Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes.

In Texas, short term and long term complications in diabetes accounted for 34,650 hospitalizations in 2012. The average hospital stay was 5 days and the average charges were $25,526.

Prevention Steps:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat smarter by limiting soda, sweets, and other snack foods
  • Buy healthier meats and lower fat dairy products
  • Be active 30 minutes per day and don't smoke
  • Individuals with prediabetes should be monitored once a year
  • If diabetic, manage your disease with medications and lifestyle changes
  • If diabetic, monitor your blood sugar and get your HbA1c twice a year
  • If diabetic, monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Get regular eye exams
  • Regularly examine your feet
  • Treat other conditions such as hypertension, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetics that become ill should stay hydrated and eat regularly
  • When sick, diabetics should monitor their blood glucose more frequently
  • Pneumococcal, influenza, and Hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended

Symptoms:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry, even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss- even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet; also called neuropathy (type 2)

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