Brief Overview of Diabetes - Part 1


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Brief Overview of Diabetes - Part 1

October 15, 2014



What is Diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a medical condition in which the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar.  This caused by problems with insulin, a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar.  There are three general types of DM—type I, type II, Gestational. 


What causes Diabetes?

Type I DM is caused by insufficient insulin.  Insulin helps our body use sugar, lack of insulin means sugar in our bloodstream cannot get into the cells to be used as fuel.  Type II DM is caused by resistance to insulin—basically, one has the insulin but it doesn’t work correctly.  Gestational DM is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.


How do I find out if I have Diabetes?

The diagnosis of diabetes can be made based on your blood sugar.  This can be measured when you are fasting or after drinking a glucose rich beverage.  If your fasting blood sugar is 126 or higher, this means you have DM.  A blood sugar of 200 or greater 2 hours after drinking a glucose rich beverage is also a criterion for DM. 


What are the symptoms of DM? 

When DM is out of control, some of the symptoms include frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability and blurry vision.  Often these symptoms will lead a person to see their doctor who will then make the diagnosis of DM.


What is Pre-Diabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition in which a person has abnormal glucose metabolism but the levels are not bad enough to qualify for the diagnosis of Diabetes. Prediabetes often leads to developing DM Type II but if lifestyle changes are taken at this point, the development of DM Type II may be delayed or prevented.   Research shows that some of the complications of Diabetes can occur even during the time when a person has prediabetes. 


What are the risks for developing Diabetes?

DM Type II is often an adult-onset, acquired condition that has risk factors that are modifiable.  These risk factors include increased age, certain ethnic groups (African Americans, Latinos, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders), family history of diabetes, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, and history of Gestational Diabetes.


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