What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that causes sugar in your blood to be too high. Blood sugar, also called blood glucose, comes from the food you eat and gives your body energy. Insulin is a hormone your body makes to help your body use glucose to make energy. When your body does not make insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes, glucose stays in your blood. Too much glucose in your blood over time can give you many health problems.

There are 4 kinds of diabetes:

    • Type 1 - The body does not make insulin. This kind of diabetes happens to people when they are very young. If you have type 1, you will need to take insulin every day.
    • Type 2 - The body does not use insulin well or stops making insulin. If you have Type 2, you may have to take pills or insulin.
    • Prediabetes - Blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet at the sugar levels of type 2 diabetes
    • Gestational (jes-TAY-shun-al) - Some pregnant women get this kind of diabetes. It goes away most of the time after the baby is born. Even if it goes away, women who had this kind of diabetes can get Type-2 later in life. Their children are also at risk of getting diabetes sometime in their lives.

Take a test to see if you have Prediabetes 

Click the link to take the 1-minute test - Could I have Prediabetes? 

How do I know if I have Diabetes?

Without having a blood test that will check the glucose in your blood, it is hard to know if you have diabetes. You will want to talk to your doctor if you have these signs, or symptoms:

    • Feel the need to urinate (pee) a lot
    • Feel very thirsty a lot
    • Feel very hungry a lot
    • Lose weight without trying
    • Feel tired a lot of the time
    • Not being able to see as well as you once did

Can I be healthy with Diabetes?

Yes, you can have diabetes and be healthy. It takes some work. But as you make healthy choices and have your diabetes in control, you will see that it is possible to be healthy and have diabetes. Here are some things to talk about with your doctor that will help you be as healthy as you can:

    • Annual physical exam - If you have diabetes, you will likely see your doctor more than once a year. Make sure that one of your visits during the year is a full physical exam. With the physical exam, you will also do some blood tests.
    • Blood tests - You will want to have a blood test a least 2 times a year. This test is called A1C and it measures glucose in your blood. The target percent of blood glucose for most people is 7 percent.
    • Blood Pressure - Make sure you have your blood pressure checked at every medical visit. Some of the problems of having diabetes come from unhealthy blood pressure. Your doctor may want you to take your blood pressure every day. If you have high blood pressure, you may have to take pills to bring it down.
    • Cholesterol (kuh-LES-tuh-rawl) - Have your cholesterol checked every year to make sure you are not at risk for heart disease. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your body and you need some to be healthy. But like unhealthy blood pressure, unhealthy amounts of cholesterol can lead to health problems.
    • Foot exam - You will want to have your doctor check your feet at every appointment. Diabetes can harm the blood vessels and nerves in your feet.
    • Eye exam - Your will want to see your eye doctor at least once a year. The eye exam is called a retinopathy eye exam. Diabetes can cause eye problems and blindness.
    • Dental exam - Make sure you see your dentist for a full dental exam every year. Diabetes can cause dental problems.
    • Immunizations - To help keep you healthy, get a pneumonia (noo-MOW-nyuh) shot. You only have to get this shot one time. Every year, you will want to get a flu shot.

Find tips on how to manage your diabetes, eat healthy and get more exercise in the links below:

          Diabetes Education Resources - Southern Region

Diabetes Education Resources - Northern Region