What’s Diabetes?

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September 18, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter

Diabetes is a condition that has different types and many related complications. However, incidence rates are increasing and more and more children are being diagnosed with diabetes, most commonly Type 2 Diabetes. This is why it is important for people to know what diabetes is, how to prevent it and what the signs & symptoms look like.

This condition is an abnormality of energy use in your body. Glucose is the form of energy that comes from food and enters the blood. Insulin is a hormone in your body that helps take glucose out of the blood and metabolize it for energy. However, insulin does not work properly in diabetics and glucose remains in the blood and begins to build up. High levels of glucose in the blood (high blood sugar) damages cells of the body.

Types

Type 1: The body does not make enough insulin or any at all. Therefore people with type 1 diabetes require insulin intake from injections or through a pump everyday.

Type 2: The body makes insulin but does not make enough or does not use the insulin that it makes properly. This type develops more slowly and is commonly found in overweight and obese individuals. Medications can be used but injections and pumps of insulin may be needed.

Type 2 Risk Factors for Children:

The following are risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing T2DM:

Obesity, Family history of T2DM in first or second-degree relative, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physically inactive

Signs & Symptoms

Frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, frequent infections/illness, drinking lots of fluids (frequently thirsty)

If you or your children experience any of the symptoms above see a doctor immediately to test for diabetes. If not controlled, this condition can be life-threatening and cause heart disease, stroke, vision impairment, and kidney damage as well as damage to blood vessels and nerves later in life.

After Diagnosis

            While this condition cannot be cured, it can be successfully managed by keeping blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels within a normal range. The following are recommendations to help manage diabetes

–       Eat a healthy diet

  • Eat meals and snacks at planned times
  • Eat same amount of food at each meal and snack
  • Choose healthful foods to support a healthy weight

–       Participate in physical activity

–       Achieve and maintain normal body weight

–       Monitor blood glucose levels regularly

–       Take insulin or other medications

–       Work closely with doctors and diabetes health care teams to achieve the best control

  • A registered dietitian can help you manage your diabetes by putting together a meal plan and help you learn methods such as carbohydrate counting and use of exchange lists.

 

Sources: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6818, http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/endocrine/type2.html#, Nutrition Therapy & Pathophysiology Textbook by Nelms, Sucher, Lacey and Roth

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Authors

Dr. Wali Gauvin

Kendra Fink RD CPT

Jessica Griffin: Intern

Julianna Yi: Intern

Marielle Mangano: Intern

Jackie Page: Intern

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