If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, here are 10 terms with which you should become familiar:
When you need more insulin than the beta cells of your pancreas can provide, glucose builds up in your blood instead of going into the cells in the rest of your body. This resistance to your own insulin causes high blood glucose, which doctors call hyperglycemia. It can lead to prediabetes, which in turn can lead to diabetes if you don’t change your lifestyle.
Type 2 diabetes
When your body is resistant to the insulin made by the beta cells of your pancreas, it compensates by making more insulin. Eventually, however, your body works so hard it can’t keep up and cells begin to die off. That’s when you get type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes. But now even children are getting it.
Type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes), you usually aren’t resistant to the insulin your beta cells make. Instead, something else, perhaps an infection, kills most of the beta cells so the rest of the cells in your body get little or none of the insulin your body makes. To compensate for this lack of insulin, a person needs to get insulin shots.
When you get either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the amount of blood glucose is high most of the time. This can lead to the complications. We call this high blood glucose (BG) or high blood sugar.
We say we test our BG, but what we really do is check its level, which changes constantly depending on what we eat, the exercise we get and the diabetes medications we take. A normal level is about 80 to 85 mg/dl.
Blood glucose meter
This is what a person uses to determine his BG level. You prick your finger and place a drop of blood on a test strip, which you insert into the blood glucose meter to receive a reading of your BG level.
The A1C test also uses a small drop of your blood. But instead of telling you how high or low your BG is, this test tells you what your average level has been over the past three months. This is also referred to as a test of hemoglobin A1C, glycohemoglobin or HbA1C. A level below 6.0 is normal.
Having diabetes means that your body doesn’t do a good job of using the food you eat because of a disturbance of carbohydrate metabolism. It’s those carbs that raise your blood glucose levels. When you reduce the carbs in your diet, your diabetes is easier to manage.
Everybody with type 1 diabetes must take insulin shots to compensate for the insulin that their bodies do not make. About one-quarter of people with type 2 diabetes also take insulin shots. Insulin is tricky because you need to take the right type at the right time in the right amount. But it’s not a medication of last resort.
Too many people still think that because this is the 21st century, there must be a cure for diabetes. But there isn’t. However, it is possible to manage diabetes so well with proper diet and exercise that it can be kicked into remission. Many people who manage their diabetes well discover that they are healthier and happier than they ever were. You can be too.
Published On: October 04, 2013