When someone has diabetes, their body can’t use the energy from the food they eat. Their body has a problem making and using insulin, a hormone that helps the body use blood sugar. With diabetes, sugar builds up in the blood because it cannot be used. Sugar stays in the blood leading to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, and over a long period of time can result in serious health problems. By keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, people with diabetes can lower their chances of having:
- Eye problems
- Kidney problems
- Foot and/or leg amputation
- Heart attack and stroke
- Sexual problems
Symptoms of diabetes include increase thirst, increased urination, feeling tired, and numbness or tingling in hands or feet.
There are two main types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, insulin shots are required to control blood sugar since the body makes little or no insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body usually makes insulin but cannot use it well. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with proper meal planning and exercise, oral medicines, and/or insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is more likely to occur in people who:
- Are over 40 years of age
- Are overweight
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Have had diabetes during a pregnancy
- Have given birth to a baby weighing over 9 pounds
- Have the stress of an illness or injury
- Have high blood pressure
- Are African American, Hispanic American or Native American
Gestational diabetes occurs in about 3-5% of pregnant women. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about gestational diabetes.
MetroPlusHealth and your doctor can help you manage your diabetes. For more information on MetroPlusHealth Diabetes Care Management Program, call 1-800-303-9626, TTY: 711, Monday – Saturday, Care Managers available 9 AM – 5 PM.
“Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES) services help people with diabetes learn how to take the best care of themselves. Ask your doctor for a referral to DSMES services to help you manage your diabetes. Click here for more information.
It is possible to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in a variety of ways, even if you’re at high risk. It starts with taking small steps that add up to a healthy lifestyle you can stick with. The steps include changes in terms of diet and physical activity,with the ultimate goal of weight loss
People at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes are said to have “prediabetes.” This means that their blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough yet for a diabetes diagnosis. Prediabetes is quite common – 96 million US adults have it, though most (more than 80%) don’t know they have it. Yet it can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.
Special programs, called Diabetes Prevention Programs, exist to support those diagnosed with prediabetes to make the kinds of lifestyle changes necessary to lose weight and help lower their risk of developing diabetes in the future. Talk to your doctor about whether you might qualify.