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Diabetes Basics

Types of Diabetes continued...

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting almost 18 million Americans. While most of these cases can be prevented, it remains for adults the leading cause of diabetes-related complications such as blindness, non-traumatic amputations, and chronic kidney failure requiring dialysis. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in people over age 40 who are overweight, but can occur in people who are not overweight. Sometimes referred to as "adult-onset diabetes," type 2 diabetes has started to appear more often in children because of the rise in obesity in young people.

Some people can manage their type 2 diabetes by controlling their weight, watching their diet, and exercising regularly. Others may also need to take a pill that helps their body use insulin better, or take insulin injections.

Often, doctors are able to detect the likelihood of type 2 diabetes before the condition actually occurs. Commonly referred to as pre-diabetes, this condition occurs when a person's blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is triggered by pregnancy. Hormone changes during pregnancy can affect insulin's ability to work properly. The condition occurs in approximately 4% of all pregnancies.

Pregnant women who have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes are those who are over 25 years old, are above their normal body weight before pregnancy, have a family history of diabetes or are Hispanic, black, Native American, or Asian.

Screening for gestational diabetes is performed during pregnancy. Left untreated, gestational diabetes increases the risk of complications to both the mother and her unborn child.

Usually, blood sugar levels return to normal within six weeks of childbirth. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes often occur suddenly and can be severe. They include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
  • Blurred vision
  • Labored, heavy breathing (Kussmaul respirations)
  • Loss of consciousness (rare)

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be the same as those listed above. Most often, there are no symptoms or a very gradual development of the above symptoms. Other symptoms may include:

How Is Diabetes Managed?

At the present time, diabetes can't be cured, but it can be managed and controlled. The goals of managing diabetes are to:

  • Keep your blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible by balancing food intake with medication and activity.
  • Maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) levels as near their normal ranges as possible by avoiding added sugars and processed starches and by reducing saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Control your blood pressure. Your blood pressure should not go over 130/80.
  • Slow or possibly prevent the development of diabetes-related health problems.

You hold the key to managing your diabetes by:

  • Planning what you eat and following a balanced meal plan
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking medicine, if prescribed, and closely following the guidelines on how and when to take it
  • Monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure levels at home
  • Keeping your appointments with your health care providers and having laboratory tests as ordered by your doctor

Remember: What you do at home every day affects your blood sugar more than what your doctor can do every few months during your checkups.
 

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on May 15, 2012

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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