Diabetes FAQs

Q: What is diabetes?
A: According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin.  Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.  The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and enviromental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play a role.

Q: What are the differences between type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes?
A: Type 1 Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes has previously been called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and juvenile-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, the only cells that make the hormone insulin that regulate blood glucose.  This form of diabetes usually strikes children and young adults, although disease onset can occur at any age. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1. 
     Type 2 Diabetes:  Type 2 Diabetes has previously been called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and adult-onset diabetes.  Appoximately 90-95% (17 million) of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It usually begins as insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly.  As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity.  It is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents.
     Gestational Diabetes:  Gestational Diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women - about 135,000 cases in the United States each year. Gestational diabetes occurs more frequently among African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and Native Americans.  It is also more common among obese women and women with a family history of diabetes.  During pregnancy, gestational diabetes requires treatment to normalize maternal blood glucose levels to avoid complications in the infant. After pregnancy 5-10% of women with gestational diabetes are found to have Type 2 diabetes and women with gestational diabetes have a 20-50% chance of developing diabetes in the next 5-10 years.

Q: What are symptoms of diabetes?
A: Often diabetes goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms are subtle.  Recent studies indicate that the early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes.
*Some symptoms include:

  • Frequent Urination 
  • Excessive Thirst 
  • Extreme Hunger 
  • Unusual Weight Loss 
  • Increased Fatigue 
  • Irritability 
  • Blurry Vision

Q: What are long-term consequences of uncontrolled diabetes?
Uncontrolled blood sugar affects many organs of the body. Therefore, failure to control diabetes may lead to heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, amputations, and stroke.

 *If you have one or more diabetes symptoms, contact Beu Health Center at 298-1888