Over 11 million people in the U.S. know they have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and another 7 million have them but are unaware of it. Several million more have an early stage called prediabetes. Diabetes is a serious chronic illness that affects how the body uses food. The food that we eat is broken down into glucose, which is our body's main source of energy. To burn this energy our body needs insulin, produced by the pancreas, to get the glucose into cells where it can be used. When this is not done correctly, serious health problems can occur.
Succes with diabetes comes through trial and error, learning, and applying that learning. For those with diabetes, the benefits of taking on this task and learning how to use insulin are tremendous, namely a more productive life today and a healthier and longer life in the future. Good resources are a must in the fight against diabetes. Knowledgeable and supportive health care providers, motivation to participate in self-management, and the financial support to provide the necessary supplies and services, all will help in your quest to a better life with diabetes.
Learn about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the ways each are diagnosed. Knowing the risk factors can help you understand and avoid some diagnoses while being properly diagnosed can help manage it better.
Learn basic info about type 1, type 1.5, and type 2 diabetes as well as their characteristics. Figure out which type of diabetes you really have.
One main goal in diabetes is keeping blood glucose levels near the normal range. Keeping these levels in the non-diabetic rang greatly reduces the risk of complications associated with diabetes. People who achieve good control over their blood sugars feel better, have more energy, and are less prone to severe swings in blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar testing is essential for all people with diabetes. Typically a person measures their own glucose level with a meter and strips at home. The goal is to reach a sugar level closest to the non-diabetic range as safely as possible. Testing is essential because the blood sugar level cannot be accurately determined by symptoms alone.
Proper nutrition management, or a food plan, is essential for better glucose control. This in turn helps reduce the risk of diabetes complications. An individualized food nutrition plan based on exchanges or carb counting should meet your nutritional needs, while including a variety of foods without being overly restrictive. Daily consistency regarding the types of foods included in the meal, their nutritional information, and the time at which they are consumed will help to normalize blood glucose levels.
Insulin is a hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas and used by the body so that glucose can enter the cells for energy. With Type 1 diabetes, the beta cells are no longer active so insulin injections replace the body's insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, the body is usually producing insulin but insulin resistance means that the insulin produced is not enough to keep the blood sugar normal.
Currently there are five classes of oral diabetes medications, all of which help in lowering blood glucose levels. These different classes of diabetes medications can be used in combination or with insulin to achieve control the blood sugar.
When you are diagnosed with diabetes, there is a lot to learn. Luckily, there are many people that can help. Building your healthcare team with the right members will ensure a healthy understanding of diabetes management. Your team members will help you learn what to eat, how to exercise, how to manage your emotions, which medicines to take and much more. Who should be in your healthcare team?