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What is diabetes?
What are the types of diabetes?
What are the symptoms of diabetes
What causes type 1 diabetes?
What causes type 2 diabetes?
What are the risk factors for diabetes?
Can diabetes be prevented?
Is there a cure for diabetes?
How is diabetes diagnosed?
What is the treatment for diabetes?
Where can I buy
home test kits for diabetes?
Where can I buy glucose meters and test strips?
can I find free diabetic supplies and services?
Where can I buy sugar free foods?
Where can I find additional information on diabetes?
What is diabetes? (top)
Diabetes is a
disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food
we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for
energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a
hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.
When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or
can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to
build up in your blood.
Diabetes can cause
serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney
failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the sixth leading
cause of death in the United States.
What are the types of diabetes? (top)
Type 1 diabetes,
which was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)
or juvenile-onset diabetes, may account for 5% to 10% of all diagnosed
cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called
non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes,
may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only pregnant women
get. If not treated, it can cause problems for mothers and babies.
Gestational diabetes develops in 2% to 5% of all pregnancies but usually
disappears when a pregnancy is over. Other specific types of diabetes
resulting from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition,
infections, and other illnesses may account for 1% to 2% of all
diagnosed cases of diabetes.
What are the symptoms of
People who think
they might have diabetes must visit a physician for diagnosis. They
might have SOME or NONE of the following symptoms:
or stomach pains may accompany some of these symptoms in the abrupt
onset of insulin-dependent diabetes, now called type 1 diabetes.
What causes type 1 diabetes?
The causes of type
1 diabetes appear to be much different than those for type 2 diabetes,
though the exact mechanisms for developing both diseases are unknown.
The appearance of type 1 diabetes is suspected to follow exposure to an
"environmental trigger," such as an unidentified virus, stimulating an
immune attack against the beta cells of the pancreas (that produce
insulin) in some genetically predisposed people.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is caused by a complicated interplay of genes,
environment, insulin abnormalities, increased glucose production in the
liver, increased fat breakdown, and possibly defective hormonal
secretions in the intestine. The recent dramatic increase indicates that
lifestyle factors (obesity and sedentary lifestyle) may be particularly
important in triggering the genetic elements that cause this type of
What are the risk factors for diabetes? (top)
Diabetes is not
contagious. People cannot “catch” it from each other. However, certain
factors can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
occurs equally among males and females but is more common in whites than
in non-whites. Data from the World Health Organization’s Multinational
Project for Childhood Diabetes indicate that type 1 diabetes is rare in
most African, American Indian, and Asian populations. However, some
northern European countries, including Finland and Sweden, have high
rates of type 1 diabetes. The reasons for these differences are unknown.
Type 1 diabetes develops most often in children but can occur at any
Can diabetes be prevented? (top)
A number of
studies have shown that regular physical activity can significantly
reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes also
appears to be associated with obesity.
making progress in identifying the exact genetics and "triggers" that
predispose some individuals to develop type 1 diabetes, but prevention
For additional information on
click here to visit the CDC FAQ section
Is there a cure for diabetes? (top)
In response to the
growing health burden of diabetes, the diabetes community has three
choices: prevent diabetes; cure diabetes; and improve the quality of
care of people with diabetes to prevent devastating complications. All
three approaches are actively being pursued by the US Department of
Health and Human Services.
Both the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) are involved in prevention activities. Several
approaches to "cure" diabetes are being pursued:
transplantation (islet cells produce insulin)
manipulation (fat or muscle cells that don’t normally make insulin
have a human insulin gene inserted — then these "pseudo" islet cells
are transplanted into people with type 1 diabetes).
Each of these
approaches still has a lot of challenges, such as preventing immune
rejection; finding an adequate number of insulin cells; keeping cells
alive; and others. But progress is being made in all areas.
How is diabetes diagnosed? (top)
The fasting blood
glucose test is the preferred test for diagnosing diabetes in children
and non-pregnant adults. It is most reliable when done in the morning.
However, a diagnosis of diabetes can be made based on any of the
following test results, confirmed by retesting on a different day:
A blood glucose
level of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more after an 8-hour
fast. This test is called the fasting blood glucose test.
A blood glucose
level of 200 mg/dL or more 2 hours after drinking a beverage
containing 75 grams of glucose dissolved in water. This test is called
the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
A random (taken
at any time of day) blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or more, along
with the presence of diabetes symptoms.
diabetes is diagnosed based on blood glucose levels measured during the
OGTT. Glucose levels are normally lower during pregnancy, so the cutoff
levels for diagnosis of diabetes in pregnancy are lower. Blood glucose
levels are measured before a woman drinks a beverage containing glucose.
Then levels are checked 1, 2, and 3 hours afterward. If a woman has two
blood glucose levels meeting or exceeding any of the following numbers,
she has gestational diabetes: a fasting blood glucose level of 95 mg/dL,
a 1-hour level of 180 mg/dL, a 2-hour level of 155 mg/dL, or a 3-hour
level of 140 mg/dL.
What is the treatment for diabetes? (top)
physical activity, and insulin injections are the basic therapies for
type 1 diabetes. The amount of insulin taken must be balanced with food
intake and daily activities. Blood glucose levels must be closely
monitored through frequent blood glucose testing.
physical activity, and blood glucose testing are the basic therapies for
type 2 diabetes. In addition, many people with type 2 diabetes require
oral medication, insulin, or both to control their blood glucose levels.
diabetes must take responsibility for their day-to-day care, and keep
blood glucose levels from going too low or too high.
diabetes should see a health care provider who will monitor their
diabetes control and help them learn to manage their diabetes. In
addition, people with diabetes may see endocrinologists, who may
specialize in diabetes care; ophthalmologists for eye examinations;
podiatrists for routine foot care; and dietitians and diabetes educators
who teach the skills needed for daily diabetes management.
to purchase diabetes home test kits
Click here to purchase glucose
meters and test strips
can I find free diabetic supplies and services? (top)
We recommend the following trusted sites:
An approved Medicare
provider that accepts most major insurance. Most of their patients have
no out of pocket expenses. 3 simple steps to see if you qualify for
Free Diabetic Supplies!
Where can I buy sugar free foods? (top)
Hocks.Com On-Line Pharmacy
I find additional information on diabetes? (top)
Association of Diabetes Educators
Research Foundation International
additional information on diabetes