What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which insufficient amounts of insulin are produced, or the body is unable to use the insulin that is produced. The disease affects the way the body metabolizes, or uses, digested food to make glucose, the main source of fuel for the body. There are 20.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 7 percent of the population, who have diabetes.
Diabetes can affect many parts of the body and can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney damage, and lower-limb amputations. Working together, people with diabetes and Parkland Health Center can reduce the occurrence of these and other complications by controlling the levels of blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipids, and by practicing preventive care.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Only 5-10 percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children with type 1 diabetes can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy, happy lives.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a result of the body’s inability to make enough, or to properly use, insulin. Healthy eating, exercise and weight loss are an important part of controlling type 2 diabetes. However often oral medications and/or insulin injections are required.
Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar (glucose) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes affects about 4 percent of all pregnant women. There are about 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes in the United States each year.
In pre-diabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. Pre-diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With education and intervention, people with pre-diabetes can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
Learn more about Parkland Health Center’s nutrition counseling.