Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of what you eat is turned into sugar which is released into your bloodstream. As your blood sugar levels go up, your pancreas releases insulin to signal your body’s cells to use that blood sugar for energy.
People with diabetes either don’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use it. This means that too much blood sugar is staying in your bloodstream which over time, can cause serious health issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vision loss.
Over the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled. Today, more than 34.2 million adults in the United States are diabetic, yet one out of every five don’t even know they have it. What’s more, diabetes ranks seventh in cause of death in this country and is the number one cause of kidney failure, adult blindness and lower limb amputations.
This is why it’s more important than ever to understand diabetes and the impact it can have on our lives
Types of Diabetes
You’ve most likely heard of diabetes labeled as either Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational. Let’s briefly discuss each.
Type 1 is typically onset before adulthood and is caused by a body’s autoimmune reaction that stops it from making insulin. Roughly 5-10% of diabetics are Type 1.
Type 2 develops over many years. The body stops using insulin well so it can’t keep blood sugar at a normal level. About 90-95% of diabetics are Type 2, and it can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy weight.
Gestational happens during a woman’s pregnancy and occurs when her body doesn’t use insulin properly, like Type 2. It tends to remedy itself once the pregnancy is over, although it does increase the risk for Type 2 later in the woman’s life.
You may also have heard of prediabetes, a condition where the blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Still, with prediabetes, there is a risk to eventually develop Type 2 and there’s an increased chance of developing heart disease or stroke. The good news is you can reverse it by making lifestyle changes. 88 million adults in the US, or one in three, have prediabetes yet 84% of them don’t know it.
How to Diagnose Diabetes
To diagnose diabetes, health care providers look at the levels of glucose and hemoglobin in your body. You may be diagnosed with diabetes if:
- Your blood glucose after fasting (and before a meal) tests at 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher.
- Your random blood glucose is 200 mg/dl or higher.
- You receive a result of 6.5 or higher on the hemoglobin A1C test, which shows how much glucose has attached to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells, on average, over the past three months.
- Your fasting blood glucose is 100 to 125 mg/dl;
- Your random glucose is 140 to 199 mg/dl; or
- Your A1C test is in the range of 5.7 to 6.4
You may be prediabetic if:
November is Diabetes Awareness Month
It’s important to understand diabetes and what you can do to prevent or manage it. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you or your loved one about the simple yet life-changing steps we all can take to recognize the disease, reduce our risk and ease the burden of diabetes it can have during Diabetes Awareness Month and beyond.
Please call 715-531-6800 to schedule an appointment today.