Diabetes

PREDIABETES

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 84 million American adults—more than 1 out of 3—have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, 90% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetesheart disease, and stroke.

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into cells for use as energy. If you have prediabetes, the cells in your body don’t respond normally to insulin. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes—and type 2 diabetes down the road.

You can have prediabetes for years but have no clear symptoms, so it often goes undetected until serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes show up. It’s important to talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested if you have any of the risk factors for prediabetes, which include:

  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome

Race and ethnicity are also a factor: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk.

You can get a simple blood sugar test to find out if you have prediabetes. Ask your doctor if you should be tested.

TYPE 1

Type 1 diabetes (previously called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes) is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but it can develop at any age.

If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas isn’t making insulin or is making very little. Insulin is a hormone that enables blood sugar to enter the cells in your body where it can be used for energy. Without insulin, blood sugar can’t get into cells and builds up in the bloodstream. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and causes many of the symptoms and complications of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2—about 5% of people with diabetes have type 1. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes, but it can be managed by following your doctor’s recommendations for living a healthy lifestyle, controlling your blood sugar, getting regular health checkups, and getting diabetes self-management education.

If your child has type 1 diabetes, you’ll be involved in diabetes care on a day-to-day basis, from serving healthy foods to giving insulin injections to watching for and treating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar; see below). You’ll also need to stay in close contact with your child’s health care team; they will help you understand the treatment plan and how to help your child stay healthy.

Much of the information that follows applies to children as well as adults, and you can also click here for comprehensive information about managing your child’s type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake) that destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, called beta cells. This process can go on for months or years before any symptoms appear.

Some people have certain genes (traits passed on from parent to child) that make them more likely to develop type 1 diabetes, though many won’t go on to have type 1 diabetes even if they have the genes. Being exposed to a trigger in the environment, such as a virus, is also thought to play a part in developing type 1 diabetes. Diet and lifestyle habits don’t cause type 1 diabetes.

It can take months or years for enough beta cells to be destroyed before symptoms of type 1 diabetes are noticed. Type 1 diabetes symptoms can develop in just a few weeks or months. Once symptoms appear, they can be severe.

Some type 1 diabetes symptoms are similar to symptoms of other health conditions. Don’t guess—if you think you could have type 1 diabetes, see your doctor right away to get your blood sugar tested. Untreated diabetes can lead to very serious—even fatal—health problems.

Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not as clear as for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, though family history is known to play a part.

simple blood test will let you know if you have diabetes. If you’ve gotten your blood sugar tested at a health fair or pharmacy, follow up at a clinic or doctor’s office to make sure the results are accurate.

If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, your blood may also tested for autoantibodies (substances that indicate your body is attacking itself) that are often present with type 1 diabetes but not with type 2. You may have your urine tested for ketones (produced when your body burns fat for energy), which also indicate type 1 diabetes instead of type 2.

Unlike many health conditions, diabetes is managed mostly by you, with support from your health care team (including your primary care doctor, foot doctor, dentist, eye doctor, registered dietitian nutritionist, diabetes educator, and pharmacist), family, teachers, and other important people in your life. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but everything you do to improve your health is worth it!

If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to take insulin shots (or wear an insulin pump) every day to manage your blood sugar levels and get the energy your body needs. Insulin can’t be taken as a pill because the acid in your stomach would destroy it before it could get into your bloodstream. Your doctor will work with you to figure out the most effective type and dosage of insulin for you.

You’ll also need to check your blood sugar[PDF – 220KB] regularly. Ask your doctor how often you should check it and what your target blood sugar levels should be. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to target as possible will help you prevent or delay diabetes-related complications.

Stress is a part of life, but it can make managing diabetes harder, including controlling your blood sugar levels and dealing with daily diabetes care. Regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and relaxation exercises can help. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about these and other ways you can manage stress.

Healthy lifestyle habits are really important, too:

Make regular appointments with your health care team to be sure you’re on track with your treatment plan and to get help with new ideas and strategies if needed.

Whether you just got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or have had it for some time, meeting with a diabetes educator is a great way to get support and guidance, including how to:

  • Develop and stick to a healthy eating and activity plan
  • Test your blood sugar and keep a record of the results
  • Recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar and what to do about it
  • Give yourself insulin by syringe, pen, or pump
  • Monitor your feet, skin, and eyes to catch problems early
  • Buy diabetes supplies and store them properly
  • Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care

Ask your doctor about diabetes self-management education and to recommend a diabetes educator. You can also search the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ nationwide directory for a list of educators in your community.

Contact us with any questions about managing your diabetes at (661) 321-3000.

TYPE 2

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and 90% to 95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it.

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart diseasevision loss, and kidney disease.

Type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop over several years and can go on for a long time without being noticed (sometimes there aren’t any noticeable symptoms at all). Because symptoms can be hard to spot, it’s important to know the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and to see your doctor to get your blood sugar tested if you have any of them.

simple blood test will let you know if you have diabetes. If you’ve gotten your blood sugar tested at a health fair or pharmacy, follow up at a clinic or doctor’s office to make sure the results are accurate.

Unlike many health conditions, diabetes is managed mostly by you, with support from your health care team (including your primary care doctor, foot doctor, dentist, eye doctor, registered dietitian nutritionist, diabetes educator, and pharmacist), family, and other important people in your life. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but everything you do to improve your health is worth it!

You may be able to manage your type 2 diabetes with healthy eating and being active, or your doctor may prescribe insulin, other injectable medications, or oral diabetes medicines to help control your blood sugar and avoid complications. You’ll still need to eat healthy and be active if you take insulin or other medicines. It’s also important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control and get necessary screening tests.

You’ll need to check your blood sugar[PDF – 220KB] regularly. Ask your doctor how often you should check it and what your target blood sugar levels should be. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to target as possible will help you prevent or delay diabetes-related complications.

Stress is a part of life, but it can make managing diabetes harder, including controlling your blood sugar levels and dealing with daily diabetes care. Regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and relaxation exercises can help. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about these and other ways you can manage stress.

Make regular appointments with your health care team to be sure you’re on track with your treatment plan and to get help with new ideas and strategies if needed.

Whether you just got diagnosed with diabetes or have had it for some time, meeting with a diabetes educator is a great way to get support and guidance, including how to:

  • Develop a healthy eating and activity plan
  • Test your blood sugar and keep a record of the results
  • Recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar and what to do about it
  • If needed, give yourself insulin by syringe, pen, or pump
  • Monitor your feet, skin, and eyes to catch problems early
  • Buy diabetes supplies and store them properly
  • Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care

Ask your doctor about diabetes self-management education and to recommend a diabetes educator, or search the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ nationwide directory for a list of educators in your community.

Contact us with any questions about managing your diabetes at (661) 321-3000.

Childhood obesity rates are rising, and so are the rates of type 2 diabetes in youth. More than 75% of children with type 2 diabetes have a close relative who has it, too. But it’s not always because family members are related; it can also be because they share certain habits that can increase their risk. Parents can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by developing a plan for the whole family:

  • Drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Making favorite foods healthier
  • Making physical activity more fun

Healthy changes become habits more easily when everyone makes them together. Find out more out more about preventing type 2 diabetes in kids.