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Diabetes Education

Diabetes is a disorder in which your body has difficulty turning the food you eat into energy.  When we eat food, specifically carbohydrates, this breaks down in our body as glucose (sugar).  Your pancreas is supposed to produce a hormone called insulin, which is essential in converting the glucose in your blood into the energy your body needs.  When you have diabetes, this process doesn’t always work correctly.

Type 1 diabetes

With type 1 diabetes, your pancreas either doesn’t produce insulin or it isn’t producing enough.  It is necessary for people with type 1 diabetes to take insulin injections.  Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in youth or young adults.  It is common for someone to experience symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst, fatigue, weight loss, increased urination, blurred vision, and increased hunger.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is more common.  With this type of diabetes, your body is resistant to the insulin it produces.  Because of this insulin resistance, your glucose isn’t converted to energy as well as it should be and this results in too much sugar in your blood (hyperglycemia).  When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your provider may recommend lifestyle changes to improve your glucose control such as following a healthy low carbohydrate meal plan, getting regular exercise, and managing your stress levels.  You may be prescribed oral or injectable medications to help your body use the insulin it is making more efficiently.  Over time your body may also produce less insulin and require insulin injections.  People with type 2 diabetes often require higher doses of insulin due to their insulin resistance.  Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, history of gestational diabetes, family history of diabetes, certain ethnicities, and older age.

It is a common misbelief that if you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but have to take insulin that you then have type 1 diabetes.  This is not true.  Even if you are taking insulin, you remain type 2 diabetic.  Remember, the key problem with type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, whereas type 1 diabetes is insulin insufficiency

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy.  When pregnant, your body becomes more resistant to insulin.  Most pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes at some point during their pregnancy.  It is common for your glucose levels to return to normal after delivery, but having gestational diabetes does put you more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future.  Therefore, it is important to follow up with your provider regularly for testing.

 How to learn more?

We offer free quarterly diabetes education classes at Manchester Memorial Hospital.  For more information or to register, call (606) 598-1095. 

If you attend one of the Manchester Memorial Hospital physician clinics, you can request a diabetes education session with your next appointment.  Speak with your physician’s office about scheduling this.

You can contact Megan Kunkel, our diabetes educator, directly at (606) 598-8813 Monday-Thursday.