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Diabetes Treatment

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism—the way your body uses digested food for growth and energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body.

After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into cells, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach.

When people eat, the pancreas automatically produces the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into the cells. In people with diabetes, however, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond  to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body in the urine. Thus, the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

The most common is Type 2 Diabetes.  This form of diabetes is most often associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, previous history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, and certain ethnicities. About 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. With Type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin correctly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Without insulin, your body can't function. 

Diabetes Diagnosis

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes. The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Your doctor may perform one or more tests to test for insulin production. If your blood glucose levels are very high, they may need to recommend insulin therapy.

Diabetes Treatment

Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their diabetes with healthy eating and exercise. However, If your blood glucose levels are very high, your doctor may prescribe oral medications (pills) and/or insulin shots to help you meet your target blood glucose levels. You will also be taught how to test your blood glucose levels to be sure they're in a safe zone. 

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