Diabetes 101

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.

When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.

Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

People who think they might have diabetes must visit a physician for diagnosis. They might have SOME or NONE of the following symptoms:
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • More infections than usual.
Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may accompany some of these symptoms in the abrupt onset of insulin-dependent diabetes, now called type 1 diabetes.

What are the types of diabetes?

  • Type 1 diabetes, which was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, may account for 5% to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only pregnant women get. If not treated, it can cause problems for mothers and babies. Gestational diabetes develops in 2% to 5% of all pregnancies but usually disappears when a pregnancy is over.
  • Other specific types of diabetes resulting from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses may account for 1% to 2% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
This information found at www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html

Other Diabetes Links

NIDDK: Learn About Diabetes

ADA: Diabetes Basics

Mayo Clinic

Doctor… Why?

I was informed by my doctor that I have ‘prediabetes’; after reading your article last week, I am interested in avoiding becoming diabetic; how can I find a Diabetes Prevention Program near my home that can help & guide me in this effort?

There are a total of 68 such programs across the State of Michigan, 13 of which have achieved full recognition/certification by the CDC and 16 of which have achieved preliminary recognition/certification by the CDC; the rest are actively working on the certification process.

The easiest way to find the program nearest you is to visit the CDC’s website at the following address – nccd.cdc.gov/DDT_DPRP/Registry.aspx.

This link takes you to a page entitled National Diabetes Prevention Program and, specifically, to the ‘Registry of All Recognized Organizations’. About halfway down the screen, you will see ‘Michigan’ in a text box, & to the right of it, another box that contains the term ‘Show All Cities’. Scroll up a bit & you will come to a wide medium blue box labeled Recognized Programs – Michigan; just below these words will be a text box labelled ‘Results per page’; click on the tiny down-arrow in this box and, from the drop-down list, click on ‘ALL’; this will cause the list of programs below to change from that for Alabama to the list for Michigan.

It will probably be easier to find the program best for you by clicking on the dark blue word ‘City’ in the next line, which will arrange all of the programs in alphabetical order by City name. By accessing such a program and successfully making the needed lifestyle changes mentioned in last week’s article (losing 7% of your current body weight and engaging in moderate activity [usually brisk walking] for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week), you will cut your risk of developing full-fledged diabetes by nearly half. Another major added benefit of these changes is that you will also cut your risk of stroke and heart attack by more than half. Good luck!!

by Paul M. Dake, M.D.