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Defeat Diabetes Month – What You Should Know About Diabetes

Apr 24, 2024

Defeat Diabetes Month – What You Should Know About Diabetes

Defeat Diabetes Month, observed every April, serves as a powerful reminder to raise awareness about diabetes and take proactive steps toward prevention and disease management. Read on to learn more about diabetes, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis methods, and available treatment options.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body is unable to effectively process glucose, an essential sugar that helps provide energy to cells in the body. Insulin is a hormone released from the pancreas that facilitates the absorption of glucose into the cells. When insulin is not functioning as it should or not enough insulin is being produced, glucose builds up in the bloodstream and causes high blood sugar levels.

Diabetes is classified into Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that stems from insulin resistance and is often caused by lifestyle factors such as lack of physical activity, poor diet, and being overweight or obese. A third type of diabetes is known as gestational diabetes, which only occurs in pregnant women.

Symptoms of diabetes depend on the type and severity of the disease, but the most common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased appetite and thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Areas of darkened skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

There are three common methods of blood testing that are used to accurately diagnose diabetes. These tests include:

  • Fasting Plasma Glucose: This type of blood testing checks fasting blood glucose levels, which requires patients not to eat or drink fluids (except water) for a minimum of eight hours before the exam. The fasting plasma glucose test often takes place in the morning, before breakfast. Patients who show results of a fasting blood glucose of 126 mg/dl or higher on two separate tests are considered to be diabetic.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: This testing method takes place over two hours and involves checking blood glucose levels two separate times — once at the start of the exam and a second time at the end of the procedure. After collecting the first sample, patients are asked to drink a sweetened beverage and wait two hours before collecting the last sample. Patients who show results for 200 mg/dl or higher are considered to be diabetic.
  • A1C: The A1C test measures average glucose levels for the past two to three months. Patients don’t have to fast before an A1C test. An A1C of 6.5% or higher is considered to be diabetic.

Treatment And Management

Diabetes treatment involves regulating blood sugar levels so they stay within a healthy range. The three main types of diabetes treatment and management include lifestyle changes, medication and blood sugar monitoring.

For patients with diabetes, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet low in refined carbohydrates and sugar can help regulate blood glucose levels. Experts also recommend patients get regular exercise, as routine physical activity has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and aid in regulating blood glucose levels.

Insulin therapy may be used in patients with Type 1 diabetes, as well as some patients with Type 2 diabetes who have difficulty regulating their blood glucose levels through diet and exercise. Insulin injections help balance out blood glucose levels in people with Type 1 diabetes, while oral medications that improve insulin sensitivity or stimulate insulin production can be prescribed to treat Type 2 diabetes.

Patients with diabetes need to carefully monitor their blood glucose levels regularly to ensure that they are within a healthy target range. They may also need to keep an eye on their blood pressure and cholesterol as well. Regular wellness check-ups with a healthcare provider are essential to prevent further complications and ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.

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