Diabetes and How it Affects Your Body

Live smart with diabetes

Diabetes is a life-long disease where the body can no longer regulate blood sugar levels, causing levels that are too high. Left untreated, high blood sugar causes health problems over time. Although there are some common risk factors, anyone can develop it.

  • With type 1 diabetes, the body becomes unable to make insulin, making insulin a necessary treatment.
  • With type 2 diabetes, the body’s ability to use insulin is reduced. This is called insulin resistance. Initially the body produces more insulin to overcome this resistance. Eventually the body can no longer keep up and insulin production can slow or stop.
  • With pre-diabetes, there is only a slight rise in blood sugar above the normal level. People who have pre-diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • With gestational diabetes, the body is less able to make and/or use enough insulin. This occurs during pregnancy and tends to resolve after the baby is born. However, women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Many different issues throughout the body lead 
to high blood sugar levels

 

You are at risk if you:

  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Are over 45 years of age
  • Have high total cholesterol (greater than 200mg/dL) or take cholesterol medication
  • Have high blood pressure (greater than 140/90mm/Hg) or take high blood pressure medication
  • Gave birth to a baby greater than 9 lbs
  • Have a large waist circumference:
    • Greater than 40” for men
    • Greater than 35” for women

Diabetes and prediabetes are typically diagnosed by a blood test. Doctors generally perform one of three different blood tests – the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or the Hemoglobin A1C (or average blood sugar) test. A repeat test is generally done to confirm the diagnosis.