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What is Diabetes?


By Webmaster | Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:59pm

What is diabetes?

Diabetes means that you have too much sugar in your blood. A main goal of treating diabetes is to keep your blood sugar controlled.

Sugar is your body’s main fuel. But, having too much sugar in your blood can be a problem

Your body’s main source of energy is glucose, a type of sugar. You get this sugar from
• The food that you eat
• The sugar that is made in your liver

Your body helps lower blood sugar by releasing insulin. Insulin is a hormone  that your pancreas makes. Insulin helps move sugar from your blood into most  of your body’s cells where sugar is used for energy.

If you have prediabetes and diabetes, your body does not
• Make enough insulin and/or
• Insulin doesn’t work the way it should

Both or either of these can cause you to have too much sugar in your blood.

Symptoms of diabetes may include
• Feeling thirsty
• Having to use the bathroom to urinate more often
• Feeling hungry
• Losing weight
• Blurred vision

What are the serious complications  of diabetes?
Diabetes may lead to
• Heart disease and stroke
• Kidney failure
• Blindness and eye problems
• Nervous system disease, such as loss of feeling or pain in the feet or hands
• Amputations

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Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition. Yet, you can learn to help manage it.


Diabetes and managing your blood sugar
Now let’s look at some reasons why your blood sugar might rise or fall when you have diabetes.

Some things that can make your blood sugar go up include
•  Not getting enough physical activity
•  Eating too much food
•  Having an illness or an infection
•  Not enough diabetes medication

Some things that can make your blood sugar go down include
•  Exercising or increased physical activity
•  Eating less than usual
•  Skipping a meal or snack
•  Too much diabetes medication

Blood sugar targets for people with diabetes
Discuss your blood sugar targets with your health care team.  Keep your blood sugar levels in the target range that you discussed with your health care provider. It may help prevent or delay health problems caused by diabetes. Diet, exercise, taking medicines, and healthy coping can help manage blood sugar levels.

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Ask your health care provider when and how often you should check  your blood sugar.


How do you manage blood sugar?

A main goal of treating diabetes is to  keep your blood sugar under control.  It may help prevent or delay other health problems.

You can help manage by
• Making healthy food choices with what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat
• Being physically active
• Checking blood sugar levels and keeping track of them
• Taking medicine (if needed) to lower blood sugar

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It is important to test your blood sugar levels at home.

Blood sugar monitoring
Here are 2 ways to monitor blood sugar:
1. Home blood sugar testing. This is a blood test you do yourself with a glucose meter each day. The meter measures your blood sugar at that moment.
2. The A1C test. This test shows your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months. The staff at the laboratory or the health care provider’s office usually does this test.

The glucose meter helps monitor your daily blood sugar levels. The A1C test gives an average blood sugar level over a period of time. Therefore, it is important to routinely check your blood sugar at home and get the A1C test, as discussed with your health care provider.

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Less stringent A1C goals may be appropriate for some people. Your health care provider will set an A1C goal that is right for you.


Blood sugar highs and lows

People with diabetes may have high or low blood sugar at times. So learn about reasons of high and low blood sugar so that steps can be taken to keep blood sugar
on target.

What is high blood sugar?
High blood sugar is also called  hyperglycemia. High blood sugar can occur when you
• Eat too much 
• Are less active than usual 
• Are sick or under stress
• If you have type 1, you may not have given yourself enough insulin.
• If you have type 2, your body may have enough insulin, but it is not as effective as it   
  should be.

Common symptoms of high blood sugar include
• Feeling thirsty
• Having to urinate more often
• Feeling hungry or eating more
• Losing weight
• Blurred vision

What to do if you think you have high blood sugar
• Test your blood sugar
• Talk with your health care provider about what to do


What is low blood sugar?
Low blood sugar is also called  hypoglycemia. It can happen when you are doing all you can to manage your diabetes.

Low blood sugar can occur when you
• Eat less or later than usual
• Miss a meal or snack
• Do more physical activity than usual
• Take some types of diabetes medicines
• Side effects of other medications
• Too much diabetes medication

Ask your health care provider when and how often you should check your blood sugar.

Common symptoms of low blood sugar include feeling
• Nervous
• Hungry
• Confused
• Shaky
• Sweaty
• Dizzy
• Sleepy

Symptoms may worsen if you do not treat them quickly.

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Remember: Low and high blood sugar can be serious if you do not treat them.


What to do if you have low blood sugar?
1. If your blood sugar is below 3.9 mmol/L, or if you have any of the symptoms of low blood sugar, eat or drink 1 of the items below. These are quick-acting sources of sugar:
• ½ cup of fruit juice or regular soda (not diet)
• 4 teaspoons of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of raisins
• 1 cup of milk
• 2 to 5 glucose tablets
2. Wait 15 minutes. Then check your blood sugar again.
3. If your blood sugar is still below 3.9 mmol/L or if you do not feel better, repeat step 1 every 15 or 20 minutes until your blood sugar is 3.9 mmol/L or above.
• If your next meal is 1 hour or more away, eat a snack once your blood sugar is 3.9 mmol/L or above.
• If you still do not feel better, or if your blood sugar stays below 3.9 mmol/L, call your health care provider right away.
Next, you’ll learn what you can do to prevent high and low blood sugar.


How can you help prevent high and low blood sugar levels?
• Sticking to a regular schedule for eating, activity, and medicine each day.
• Check your blood sugar levels the way your health care provider advises you. Keep a record and show it to your health care provider at your next visit.
• Keep fast-acting sugar items with you, such as
– ½ cup (4 ounces) of fruit juice
– Glucose tablets
Have these items handy. They can help you treat low blood sugar levels any time.

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Remember: Working with your health care team can help manage your diabetes! Ask your health care provider what else you need to do to keep your diabetes under control.



 

 






 

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