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Saturday, January 24, 2009

What is diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes occurs most often in children and young adults. In this form of diabetes, the body does not produce any insulin. In Type 2 Diabetes, the most common form, the body does not produce enough insulin or it ignores the insulin that is being produced naturally. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to convert sugar, starch, and other foods into energy. Gestational Diabetes occurs in pregnant women who are not diabetic, but develop high blood sugar during the pregnancy. About 4% of all pregnant women develop Gestational Diabetes.
What is Pre-Diabetes?
If a person has higher than normal blood glucose, or blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes, then they are said to have Pre-Diabetes. Undetected or untreated, Pre-Diabetes almost certainly progresses to Type 2 Diabetes. However, there is good news. With proper diet, exercise and guidance from your doctor, Pre-Diabetes can be controlled and your blood sugar levels can be brought to normal, even preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
What are the risks of diabetes?
The most common effects of diabetes are hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) and hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). Everyone with diabetes will experience these effects from time to time. Low blood sugar can cause symptoms as minor as shakiness or dizziness, or as serious as massive mood swings, or seizures. Hypoglycemia is treated by giving the body the sugar that it is lacking. It is prevented with proper diabetes control as instructed by a doctor. Hyperglycemia is the result of the lack of insulin in the body and if it is not treated properly it can lead to diabetic coma. The risk of hyperglycemia can be reduced by following a proper diabetes care plan as set out by a doctor.
How is diabetes treated?
Insulin injections and medication are not the only solutions to diabetes. Proper care also involves eating a well balanced meal, getting regular exercise, and keeping your weight under control. Talk to your doctor about other means of treatment or, if you think you might be at risk of developing diabetes, ask about preventative actions you can take!

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