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Diabetes

Diabetes means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. There are two main types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes – the body does not make insulin. Insulin helps the body use glucose from food for energy. People with type 1 need to take insulin every day.

Type 2 diabetes – the body does not make or use insulin well. People with type 2 often need to take pills or insulin. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes – may occur when a woman is pregnant. Gestational diabetes raises her risk of getting another type of diabetes, mostly type 2, for the rest of her life. It also raises her child’s risk of being overweight and getting diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious disease. It affects almost every part of your body. That is why a health care team may help you take care of your diabetes:

  • doctor
  • dentist
  • diabetes educator
  • dietitian
  • eye doctor
  • foot doctor
  • mental health counselor
  • nurse
  • nurse practitioner
  • pharmacist
  • social worker
  • friends and family

Diabetes is serious.

You may have heard people say they have “a touch of diabetes” or “your sugar is a little high.” These words suggest that diabetes is not a serious disease. That is not correct. Diabetes is serious, but you can learn to manage it!

All people with diabetes need to make healthy food choices, stay at a healthy weight, and be physically active every day.

Taking good care of yourself and your diabetes can help you feel better. It may help you avoid health problems caused by diabetes such as:

  • heart disease and stroke.
  • eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or going blind.
  • nerve damage that can cause your hands and feet to feel numb. Some people may even lose a foot or a leg.
  • kidney problems that can cause your kidneys to stop working.
  • gum disease and loss of teeth.

When your blood glucose (blood sugar) is close to normal you are likely to:

  • have more energy.
  • be less tired and thirsty and urinate less often.
  • heal better and have fewer skin, or bladder infections.
  • have fewer problems with your eyesight, feet, and gums.
  • Ask your health care team what type of diabetes you have.
  • Learn why diabetes is serious.
  • Learn how caring for your diabetes helps you feel better today and in the future.

Links:

National Diabetes Education Program http://ndep.nih.gov/index.aspx

American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/

Maine Diabetes Education and Control Program http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/bohdcfh/dcp/selfmanagement.htm