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HEALTH | Who should get tested for diabetes?

HEALTH | Who should get tested for diabetes?
Photo via Pixabay
What is Diabetes? Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot regulate its own blood sugar level because of the lack of or absence of insulin.

What is Insulin?
It is a hormone produced by the pancreas that causes cells in your muscles and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood.

What are the types of Diabetes?

TYPE 1 DIABETES

Type 1 diabetes was formerly called “juvenile diabetes” or “insulin-dependent diabetes,” because 70 percent of diagnoses occur before a person reaches the age of 30. However, it can be diagnosed at any age. Only 5 percent to 10 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes have this type. With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little to no insulin.

The onset of type 1 diabetes is usually sudden (acute) and clear-cut, when a person goes to their health care provider or the emergency room with symptoms of high blood sugar. Sometimes, a person with new-onset type 1 diabetes needs to be treated in an intensive care unit. Symptoms include increased urination, thirst or dry mouth, hunger, weight loss despite normal or increased eating, blurred vision, frequent or continuous infections and tingling or pain in the hands, feet or both.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll always need to take insulin, either through injections or through an insulin pump. Insulin, nutrition and activity (exercise) need to be kept in balance.

It’s also key that you test your blood sugar level, generally 4 times a day or more, to avoid extremely high or low blood sugar.

TYPE 2 DIABETES

Your body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood sugar level.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes, which are generally the same as symptoms of type 1, may come on gradually or not be noticed at all.

A healthy diet and exercise may not be enough to lower your blood sugar level to a satisfactory range.

Oral or injectable medication may be needed to control your blood sugar level.

Talk with your doctor to learn whether you need to monitor your blood sugar and, if so, what schedule you should use.

Testing your blood sugar and keeping a record on a regular basis is an important tool to help you learn the relationship between food and your blood sugar level.

What other conditions may cause a temporary increase in blood sugar besides eating?
GESTATIONAL DIABETES

This type of diabetes, which causes high blood sugar, develops during pregnancy (gestation) and is caused by increased production of hormones that make the body less able to use insulin as well as it should. Most gestational diabetes goes away after birth but it does put you at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. Healthy eating and being active may decrease the risk of developing subsequent type 2 diabetes.

CHEMICALLY-INDUCED

Some types of medication can cause your blood sugar level to be higher than normal. Steroids, specifically cortisone or prednisone, are the most common cause of such high blood sugar. Treatment may include prescription oral diabetes medication or insulin. (DOH)

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