Monday, September 21, 2020

Diabetes: A Quick Guide


Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Your body has trouble converting food to energy.

After you eat, the food is broken down into glucose, which is carried by the blood to the cells throughout your body. Cells use insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, to convert blood glucose into energy.

When the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or because the cells in the body don’t use insulin properly, you develop the disease. The amount of glucose in the blood increases and the cells are starved of energy.

Gradually, high blood glucose damages nerves and blood vessels. This can lead to problems such as heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and nerve problems.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 is normally diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. In this type, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body’s immune system has destroyed them.

Type 2 is the most common form. You can develop it at any age. This type begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which muscle, liver, and fat cells do not use insulin properly. The pancreas keeps up with the additional demand at first by producing more insulin. Over time, it loses the capability to exude enough insulin in response to meals.

Gestational affects women’s health as it develops in some women during the late stages of pregnancy. This type usually goes away after the baby is born. A woman who has had it is more likely to develop type 2 later in life. It is caused by the hormones of pregnancy

Warning Signs

Warning signs are frequent urination; extreme thirst, unexplained weight lost; fatigue, numbness in hands, legs or feet; blurred vision; dry itchy skin; bruises or cuts that heal slowly.

Risk Factors

  • 45 or older
  • Overweight or obese
  • You have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
  • Your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, or you have been told that you have high blood pressure.
  • Your cholesterol levels are not normal.
  • You are inactive. You exercise less than three times a week.

How Is It Diagnosed?

  1. A fasting plasma glucose test measures the blood glucose after you have gone a minimum of 8 hours without eating. This test detects diabetes or pre-diabetes.
  2. An oral glucose tolerance test measures the blood glucose after you have gone a minimum of 8 hours without eating, and 2 hours after drinking a glucose-containing beverage. This test detects diabetes or pre-diabetes.
  3. A random plasma glucose test, your doctor checks the blood glucose regardless of when you ate your last meal. This test, along with an assessment of symptoms, is used to diagnose diabetes but not pre-diabetes.

Positive test results should be confirmed by repeating the fasting plasma glucose test or the oral glucose tolerance test on a different day.

Diabetes can be managed with meal planning, physical activity and when needed, medications.

If you would like the full explanation then read this article: Diabetes Mellitus.

Gloria Brown
Women's health and wellness retreat leader providing vacations and trips for women to get in shape -- and stay that way! On you can find my articles about weight loss, health and women's issues. Please feel free to contact me on

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