Diabetes is a chronic health condition that effects how the body turns food into energy. The body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
There are several types of diabetes. The most common forms include:
Type 2 diabetes: With this type, your body doesn’t make enough insulin and/or your body’s cells don’t respond normally to the insulin (insulin resistance). This is the most common type of diabetes. It mainly affects adults, but children can have it as well. Prediabetes: This type is the stage before Type 2 diabetes. Your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be officially diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes: This type is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in your pancreas for unknown reasons. Up to 10% of people who have diabetes have Type 1. It’s usually diagnosed in children and young adults, but it can develop at any age. Gestational diabetes: This type develops in some people during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy. However, if you have gestational diabetes, you’re at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Symptoms include:
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and dry mouth.
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue.
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet.
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts.
  • Frequent skin and/or vaginal yeast infections
Ways to manage diabetes:
  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Oral diabetes medication
  • Insulin
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels due to increased risk for heart disease.
Ways to prevent diabetes:
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get physically active
  • Exercise
  • Manage stress
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Quit smoking
If you are at an increased risk, have symptoms, or have already developed diabetes, it’s important to have a multidisciplined healthcare team to help you properly manage your modifiable risk factors, symptoms and complications if you have diabetes and are experiencing complications.