Learning about Diabetes

Types of Diabetes

  • Prediabetes: An A1c level between 5.7% and 6.4% is considered prediabetic. You can keep prediabetes from becoming Type II Diabetes by changing your exercise habits and diet. Find more information about the A1c test. Take a simple test to see if you may be prediabetic.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: In Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. The pancreas plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body’s cells. Without production of insulin, we must take medications such as a synthetic insulin to promote proper function of the pancreas to stabilize our blood sugar levels. Type 1 Diabetes is more likely to develop when you’re a child or young adult. 
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Develops when the body does not use insulin properly. You are more likely to get Type 2 Diabetes if you are:
  •  Overweight
  •  Physically active less than 3 times a week
  •  Older than 45
  •  Have a parent or siblings with Type 2 Diabetes
  •  Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native
  •  Experiencing one or more social determinants of health (e.g., low income, employment insecurity,   low educational attainment, food insecurity, or housing instability)
  • Gestational Diabetes: Can develop when a woman is pregnant. Women are usually tested for Gestational Diabetes (GD) between 24 and 28 weeks. The first test is called glucose challenge test and if the results are positive for GD then you would take another test called Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) to confirm. Some women do not experience any symptoms. Having gestational diabetes increases your chances of getting Type 2 Diabetes. After you deliver your baby, you can take a Diabetes prevention class to reduce your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Find out more information about Gestational Diabetes.
  • Diabetes Can Develop : By other genetic syndromes, after surgery, chronic use of medication and illicit drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses.  
Diabetes Infographics

Source: American Diabetes Association - Understanding A1c and The American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists

Know the Symptoms

See your doctor to have your blood tested for Diabetes if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Urinating (pee) a lot, often at night Know the symptoms image
  • Feeling very thirsty more often
  • Feeling very hungry even after eating
  • Feeling very tired
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Have very dry skin
  • Cuts/bruises and sores that are slow to heal
  • Unintentional weight loss, especially if you are eating more (Type 1)
  • A child, teen, or young adult can experience nausea, vomiting, and/or stomach pains (Type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the feet and/or hands (Type 2)

For more information, please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Diabetes Symptoms
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Diabetes Distress

Diabetes distress can look like depression or anxiety and is commonly overlooked. Take some time to process how you are feeling and think about if you are effectively managing your stress in a good way where it is not affecting your health. See your doctor if you are:

  • Feeling sad or empty Diabetes Distress
  • Losing interest in favorite activities
  • Overeating or not wanting to eat at all
  • Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Feeling of disappointment
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
  • Having aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Having thoughts of suicide or death.
  • Quick and easy test - Take a simple test to see if you may be experiencing diabetes distress

Having diabetes can be stressful and challenging which can make it more difficult to control your diabetes. Visit your healthcare physician and speak with her or him about how are you feeling. For more information about diabetes distress please visit https://www.cdc.gov/Diabetes/managing/mental-health.html and/or https://Diabetesdistress.org/learn-about-dd.   

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Managing Mental Health with Diabetes

Learn about How Diabetes can Affect Your Health

Over time, uncontrolled Diabetes can slowly cause damage to vital organs and systems in your body. It can cause:

  • Heart disease due to high blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure can increase the chances of heart attack and stroke.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is very common among diabetes patients. Most diabetic patients with CKD must undergo dialysis treatments or if CKD is severe then possibly kidney transplant.
  • Nerve damage also known as diabetic neuropathy is due to high, uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Depending on which nerve is affected, it can cause mild to severe numbness and pain throughout the body and organs. Peripheral nerve damage is the most common type of nerve damage causing numbness, tingling, and/or pain in feet and hands.
  • Foot ulcers and bone pain can be the cause of poor circulation, poor skin care, and peripheral nerve damage. Foot care is very important and can help prevent amputations.
  • Gum disease and tooth loss can be more severe and take longer to heal. High blood sugar can weaken white blood cells and increase chances of infections of the mouth.
  • Hearing loss is twice as common in people who have diabetes. Low and high blood sugar levels can damage nerves and small blood vessels in the inner ear.
  • Eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma can all lead to vision loss and/or blindness.
  • Diabetes distress can produce depression and anxiety-like symptoms. Feelings such as denial, guilt, or stress from living with Diabetes and the load of self-management can worsen health outcomes.
  • Quick and easy test – Take a simple test to see if you may be prediabetic.

Source: Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention - Prevent Diabetes Complications