Diabetes Mellitus

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Diabetes facts

  • Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
  • Insulin produced by the pancreas lowers blood glucose.
  • Absence or insufficient production of insulin causes diabetes.
  • The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 and type 2. Former names for these conditions were insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, or juvenile onset and adult onset diabetes.
  • Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue.
  • Diabetes is diagnosed by blood sugar (glucose) testing.
  • The major complications of diabetes are both acute and chronic.
    • Acute complications: dangerously elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia), abnormally low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) due to diabetes medications may occur
    • Chronic complications: disease of the blood vessels (both small and large) which can damage the feet, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart may occur
  • Diabetes treatment depends on the type and severity of the diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin, exercise, and a diabetic diet. Type 2 diabetes is first treated with weight reduction, a diabetic diet, and exercise. When these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugars, oral medications are used. If oral medications are still insufficient, insulin medications and other injectable medications are considered.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2012

Patient Comments

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Diabetes - Symptoms Question: The symptoms of diabetes can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?
Diabetes - Causes Question: What was the cause of your diabetes (overweight, lack of physical activity, pregnancy, autoimmune)?
Diabetes - Test Question: What type of diabetes test do you use to check your blood sugar at home?
Diabetes - Acute Complication Question: What causes your blood sugar readings to spike, and what action do you take to lower them?
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Diabetes Diet

Eating and Diabetes

Healthful eating helps keep your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, in your target range. Physical activity and, if needed, diabetes medicines also help. The diabetes target range is the blood glucose level suggested by diabetes experts for good health. You can help prevent health problems by keeping your blood glucose levels on target.


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