What is diabetes?
Diabetes means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. Glucose comes from the food we eat. An organ called the pancreas (PAN-kree-as) makes insulin (IN-suh-lin). Insulin helps glucose get from your blood into your cells. Cells take the glucose and turn it into energy. When you have diabetes, your body has a problem making or properly using insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in your blood and cannot get into your cells. If the blood glucose stays too high, it can damage your body.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
• Having to urinate often.
• Being very thirsty.
• Feeling very hungry or tired.
• Losing weight without trying.
But many people with diabetes have no symptoms at all.
Why should I be concerned about diabetes?
Diabetes is a very serious disease. Do not be misled by phrases that suggest diabetes is not a serious disease, such as “a touch of sugar,” “borderline diabetes,” or “my blood glucose is a little bit high.”
Diabetes can lead to other serious health problems. When high levels of glucose in the blood are not controlled, they can slowly damage your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and feet.
What are the types of diabetes?
There are three main types of diabetes.
• Type 1 diabetes—In this type of diabetes, the body does not make insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day.
• Type 2 diabetes—In this type of diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin or use insulin well. Some people with type 2 diabetes have to take diabetes pills, insulin, or both. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.
• Gestational diabetes—This type of diabetes can occur when a woman is pregnant. It raises the risk that both she and her child might develop diabetes later in life.
You can control diabetes. Diabetes can be managed. You can successfully manage diabetes and avoid the serious health problems it can cause if you follow these steps:
• Ask your doctor how you can learn more about your diabetes to help you feel better today and in the future.
• Know your diabetes “ABCs”.
• Make healthy food choices and be physically active most days. Following this advice will help you keep off extra pounds and will also help keep your blood glucose under control.
• Check your blood glucose as your doctor tells you to.
• If you are taking diabetes medications, take them even if you feel well.
• To avoid problems with your diabetes, see your health care team at least twice a year. Finding and treating any problems early will prevent them from getting worse. Ask how diabetes can affect your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, legs, and feet.
• Be actively involved in your diabetes care. Work with your health care team to come up with a plan for making healthy food choices and being active—a plan that you can stick to.
Creating a healthy meal plan.
This Gestational Diabetes recipes is a place to start creating healthy meals. Ask your doctor to refer you to a registered dietitian or a diabetes educator who can help you create a meal plan for you and your family. The dietitian will work with you to come up with a meal plan tailored to your needs. Your meal plan will take into account things like:
• Your blood glucose levels.
• Your weight.
• Medicines you take.
• Other health problems you have.
• How physically active you are.
Making healthy food choices.
• Eat smaller portions. Learn what a serving size is for different foods and how many servings you need in a meal.
• Eat less fat. Choose fewer high-fat foods and use less fat for cooking. You especially want to limit foods that are high in saturated fats or trans fat, such as:
- Fatty cuts of meat.
- Whole milk and dairy products made from whole milk.
- Cakes, candy, cookies, crackers, and pies.
- Fried foods.
- Salad dressings.
- Lard, shortening, stick margarine, and nondairy creamers.