Diabetes is a condition in which there is too much glucose (or sugar) in the blood. A hormone called insulin helps to process sugar from the foods you eat into energy.  If your body does not use insulin properly or your body does not produce enough insulin, too much sugar can accumulate in the bloodstream.  Left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, blood vessel disease that may require amputation and many other complications.

Type 1 diabetes occurs in people whose bodies do not make insulin, or make only a tiny amount.  People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. This occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or does not use insulin properly.  People with type 2 diabetes often need to take pills or insulin.  Type 2 diabetes is strongly affected by lifestyle.  Following a meal plan, becoming more physically active, losing weight, monitoring your blood sugar and taking necessary medications can greatly reduce the effect diabetes has on your body.

Gestational diabetes occurs in some women when they become pregnant.  Gestational diabetes typically is resolved after the birth of the baby, but women with gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.  This is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Category

Fasting Blood Glucose

Normal

70-99 mg/dL

Pre-diabetes

100-125 mg/dL

Diabetes

126 mg/dL or higher

 

RISK FACTORS FOR DIABETES

·     Age of 45 or older

·     A parent, brother or sister with diabetes

·     African American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native, Asian American, Pacific Islander

·     Diagnosis of insulin resistance or pre-diabetes

·     Overweight

·     Lack of physical activity, particularly for people who are overweight

·     Woman who has had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

·     Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

·     High blood pressure

·     Low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides


SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE DIABETES

·     Increased thirst

·     Frequent urination

·     Fatigue

·     Extreme hunger

·     Slow-healing sores

·     Pain, tingling, numbness in hands or feet

·     Blurred vision

·     Unexplained weight loss

·     Irritability

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



EFFECTS OF DIABETES

Diabtes Complications

 

 

EYE DAMAGE (Retinopathy) – Diabetes can damage blood vessels of the retina, potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness.

 

TEETH AND GUMS – Diabetes can put you at greater risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, fungal disease and other oral health problems.

 

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE – Diabetes increases your risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). 

 

 

KIDNEY DAMAGE (Nephropathy) – Diabetes can damage your kidneys so severely, leading to kidney failure or kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.  Diabetes is the number cause of kidney failure.

 

IMPOTENCE – Diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction or impotence in men.



BLOOD VESSEL DAMAGE (Peripheral artery disease or PAD)
– Diabetes puts you at greater risk for developing PAD.  This occurs when the arteries leading to the legs and feet become clogged leading to pain and potentially limb amputation.  Diabetes is the number one case of non-traumatic amputation.

NERVE DAMAGE (Neuropathy) – High blood sugar levels can damage your blood vessels, especially in the legs.  Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. 

 

FOOT DAMAGE - Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet can increase your risk of various foot complications.  Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections.  Severe damage may require toe, foot or even leg amputation. 



Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse