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.
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
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
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.
free quarterly diabetes education classes at Manchester Memorial Hospital. For more information or
to register, call (606) 598-1095.
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
contact Megan Kunkel, our diabetes educator, directly at (606) 598-8813