Champion Home Health Care in Stuart, FL
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Champion HHC Health Information Library

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Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood. You can also have prediabetes. This means that your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Having prediabetes puts you at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious problems. It can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke and even the need to remove a limb. Pregnant women can also get diabetes, called gestational diabetes.

Blood tests can show if you have diabetes. One type of test, the A1C, can also check on how you are managing your diabetes. Exercise, weight control and sticking to your meal plan can help control your diabetes. You should also monitor your blood glucose level and take medicine if prescribed.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Diabetes Type 1

Diabetes means your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. With type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose get into your cells to give them energy. Without insulin, too much glucose stays in your blood. Over time, high blood glucose can lead to serious problems with your heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and gums and teeth.

Type 1 diabetes happens most often in children and young adults but can appear at any age. Symptoms may include

  • Being very thirsty
  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very hungry or tired
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Having sores that heal slowly
  • Having dry, itchy skin
  • Losing the feeling in your feet or having tingling in your feet
  • Having blurry eyesight

A blood test can show if you have diabetes. If you do, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your life. A blood test called the A1C can check to see how well you are managing your diabetes.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Diabetes Type 2

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose is your main source of energy. It comes from the foods you eat. A hormone called insulin helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. If you have diabetes, your body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use insulin well. The glucose then stays in your blood and not enough goes into your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. But you can take steps to manage your diabetes and try to prevent these health problems.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes may be caused by a combination of factors:

  • Being overweight or having obesity
  • Not being physically active
  • Genetics and family history

Type 2 diabetes usually starts with insulin resistance. This is a condition in which your cells don't respond normally to insulin. As a result, your body needs more insulin to help the glucose enter your cells. At first, your body makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. But over time, your body can't make enough insulin, and your blood glucose levels rise.

Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes?

You are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you

  • Are over age 45. Children, teenagers, and younger adults can get type 2 diabetes, but it is more common in middle-aged and older people.
  • Have prediabetes, which means that your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes
  • Had diabetes in pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are overweight or have obesity
  • Are Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • Are not physically active
  • Have other conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or depression
  • Have low HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglycerides
  • Have acanthosis nigricans - dark, thick, and velvety skin around your neck or armpits
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at all. If you do have them, the symptoms develop slowly over several years. They might be so mild that you do not notice them. The symptoms can include

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Feeling tired
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Unexplained weight loss
How is type 2 diabetes diagnosed?

Your health care provider will use blood tests to diagnose type 2 diabetes. The blood tests include

  • A1C test, which measures your average blood sugar level over the past 3 months
  • Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, which measures your current blood sugar level. You need to fast (not eat or drink anything except water) for at least 8 hours before the test.
  • Random plasma glucose (RPG) test, which measures your current blood sugar level. This test is used when you have diabetes symptoms and the provider does not want to wait for you to fast before having the test.
What are the treatments for type 2 diabetes?

Treatment for type 2 diabetes involves managing your blood sugar levels. Many people are able to do this by living a healthy lifestyle. Some people may also need to take medicine.

  • A healthy lifestyle includes following a healthy eating plan and getting regular physical activity. You need to learn how to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any.
  • Medicines for diabetes include oral medicines, insulin, and other injectable medicines. Over time, some people will need to take more than one type of medicine to control their diabetes.
  • You will need to check your blood sugar regularly. Your health care provider will tell you how often you need to do it.
  • It's also important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels close to the targets your provider sets for you. Make sure to get your screening tests regularly.
Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

You can take steps to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing weight if you are overweight, eating fewer calories, and being more physically active. If you have a condition which raises your risk for type 2 diabetes, managing that condition may lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Diabetes and Pregnancy

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. When you are pregnant, high blood sugar levels are not good for your baby.

About seven out of every 100 pregnant women in the United States get gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that happens for the first time when a woman is pregnant. Most of the time, it goes away after you have your baby. But it does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes later on. Your child is also at risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Most women get a test to check for diabetes during their second trimester of pregnancy. Women at higher risk may get a test earlier.

If you already have diabetes, the best time to control your blood sugar is before you get pregnant. High blood sugar levels can be harmful to your baby during the first weeks of pregnancy - even before you know you are pregnant. To keep you and your baby healthy, it is important to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible before and during pregnancy.

Either type of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances of problems for you and your baby. To help lower the chances talk to your health care team about

  • A meal plan for your pregnancy
  • A safe exercise plan
  • How often to test your blood sugar
  • Taking your medicine as prescribed. Your medicine plan may need to change during pregnancy.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Diabetes in Children and Teens

Until recently, the common type of diabetes in children and teens was type 1. It was called juvenile diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose,or sugar, get into your cells to give them energy. Without insulin, too much sugar stays in the blood.

Now younger people are also getting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes. But now it is becoming more common in children and teens, due to more obesity. With Type 2 diabetes, the body does not make or use insulin well.

Children have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes if they are overweight or have obesity, have a family history of diabetes, or are not active. Children who are African American, Hispanic, Native American/Alaska Native, Asian American, or Pacific Islander also have a higher risk. To lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in children

  • Have them maintain a healthy weight
  • Be sure they are physically active
  • Have them eat smaller portions of healthy foods
  • Limit time with the TV, computer, and video

Children and teens with type 1 diabetes may need to take insulin. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet and exercise. If not, patients will need to take oral diabetes medicines or insulin. A blood test called the A1C can check on how you are managing your diabetes.