The Times article states there are three major types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood, although it can be diagnosed in young adults. In Type 1 diabetes, the body makes little or no insulin. Daily injections of insulin are needed. The cause is not known. Medical experts believe genetics, viruses, and autoimmune problems may be possible causes. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include fatigue, increased thirst, increased urination, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss in spite of increased appetite. Patients with type 1 diabetes usually develop symptoms over a short period of time.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1. Type 2 makes up most of diabetes cases. It usually occurs in adulthood but can be diagnosed earlier in life. In Type 2 the pancreas does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal. Many people with type 2 diabetes go undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common, especially in the U.S., due to increasing obesity and lack of exercise. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include blurred vision, fatigue, increased appetite, increased thirst and increased urination. Some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes include age over 45 years, family history of diabetes, gestational diabetes or delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, heart disease, high blood cholesterol level, obesity, not getting enough exercise, and polycystic ovary disease. Some ethnic groups (African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Hispanic Americans) are more prone to Type 2 diabetes. R
Recently, while watching the Dr. Oz show, the topic was Alzheimer’s. The discussion was about a new study in Japan that links diabetes to Alzheimer’s.
Gestational diabetes: This type diabetes can develop anytime during a woman’s pregnancy. In most cases diabetes was not present before pregnancy. Women who have gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease later on in life.
Diagnosing diabetes is usually done through testing. The first test is usually a blood test to check the fasting blood glucose level. This is usually done during routine annual physicals.
Another test is the oral glucose tolerance test. In this test diabetes is diagnosed if glucose level is higher than 200 mg/dL after 2 hours. This test is used more for type 2 diabetes than other types.
With the random (non-fasting) blood glucose level testing, diabetes is suspected if higher than 200 mg/dL and accompanied by diabetes symptoms of increased thirst, urination, and fatigue. This test must be confirmed with a fasting blood glucose test.
There is no cure for diabetes at this time. According to medical experts cited in the New York Times article, treatment normally involves medication, diet, and exercise to control blood sugar and prevent symptoms. Long-term goals of treatment are to prolong life, reduce symptoms, prevent diabetes-related complications such as blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and amputation of limbs. The article goes on to say that these goals are accomplished through blood pressure and cholesterol control, careful self-testing of blood glucose levels, education, exercise, foot care, meal planning and weight control, and medication or insulin use.
Don’t let diabetes control your life. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, see your doctor immediately for testing.
Information included in this column came from the following sources: New York Times Health Guide, and the American Diabetes Association at diabetes.org. Call 404-320-7100 for the Georgia Chapter.
Pam Rasmussen is a resident of LaFayette. She is the mother of a child with spina bifida and an advocate for children and adults with disabilities. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.