What is Diabetes
Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. 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.
Loading the player...Diabetes and Lifestyle Considerations <p><a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/registered-dietician"> Dietitian</a>, discusses the importance of making good lifestyle choices when managing diabetes.</p>
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Endocrinolgist discusses diabetes management in relation to lifestyle choices.
What are Diabetes Symptoms & Treatments
Other than gestational diabetes, there are two main types of diabetes: type I diabetes and type II. Patients with type I Diabetes have run out of insulin, and will generally, early on in the disease, require to be on insulin; pills don’t work for them. Type II patients, patients with type II Diabetes, initially can be treated with pills, but for many of them, after having the disease for many years, your body’s production of insulin tends to decrease, and you, too, will also require insulin.
Insulin is a hormone; it has a number of functions, but the primary one is lowering of blood sugar in the blood. Your body produces other hormones which elevate blood sugar. So what’s happening continuously is it’s like the gas and the brake on a car – it’s being adjusted continuously.
If you’re healthy and you don’t have diabetes and you eat food, your body automatically produces insulin to prevent the sugar that you’ve eaten from making your blood sugar shoot up too high. If you have diabetes, that’s not gonna occur; you have to anticipate the food intake and make sure you’ve got insulin in your body at the time to prevent very high sugars.
Insulin comes in a number of different formulations. It’s important to discuss your particular situation with your pharmacist or health care provider in terms of how it impacts your health and may have an impact on other medications that you’re taking.
Diabetes Tests and Targets
Maintaining glucose targets is very important for preventing complications related to diabetes. There are two tests to know about. The first one is an A1C. This is an average of your blood sugar's over three months and it's measured by a blood test done in the lab. For most people living with diabetes, this number should be less than or equal to 7%.
The other tests that are important in terms of understanding your glucose control, is when you do self monitoring of blood glucose. Your healthcare professional can help you pick out the meter that's best for you, teach you when would be appropriate times to perform glucose monitoring and set your targets. For most people living with diabetes, fasting and before meals is four to seven millimoles per liter, and after meals is 5 to 10 millimoles per liter.
Maintaining good blood pressure control is very important for people with diabetes to protect their vascular health. There are two numbers in the blood pressure measurement, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the top number and it's the measurement when the heart is beating against the walls of the artery. Diastolic is the bottom number which is when the heart relaxes and fills back up again. It's recommended that you have your blood pressure checked at all your diabetes related visits. For most people living with diabetes, your target blood pressure is less than 130 on 80.
For people living with diabetes, it's very important that your cholesterol is checked at least on an annual basis. Cholesterol is part of what can increase your risk for heart disease. People living with diabetes already have a higher risk than the general population for heart disease. We're most interested in your bad cholesterol called the LDL. Increased levels of LDL can clog up your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. For most people living with diabetes, we target an LDL cholesterol of less than or equal to two millimoles per liter.
For people living with diabetes, it's really important for them to understand that it's a disease that will change with time and your treatment will change the longer you have diabetes. If you're looking for more information on how to manage your diabetes or for help with some of the educational tips, you should speak to your diabetes healthcare team. That can include a diabetes nurse educator, a dietitian, educator, a pharmacist, a family doctor, or perhaps a specialist called an endocrinologist.