Diabetes Blood sugar management Naturally?

  • The term "diabetes" covers several diseases caused by problems with insulin, the hormone that helps maintain a healthy level of glucose -- the sugar your body uses for energy -- in your body. When you don't have enough insulin, or your body's cells are prevented from receiving and using this hormone (so-called "insulin resistance"), unused glucose builds up in your blood -- a condition called "hyperglycemia." Diabetes is a condition of chronic hyperglycemia that often causes no symptoms for years while irreversibly damaging major body organs and systems including eyes, heart and blood vessels, brain, and kidneys.

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  • Q: What are the different types of diabetes?
    About one in 10 people with diabetes has type 1 diabetes mellitus, which usually develops during childhood, with loss of adequate insulin production in the body and need for daily administration of insulin. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is far more common, affecting some 15 million Americans; it most often occurs in people who are over age 40 and obese but is increasingly seen in obese children, paralleling the rising rate of obesity in Americans of all ages. Type 2 diabetics produce some insulin, but the body doesn't respond effectively to it, a condition called "insulin resistance." Gestational diabetes -- in which a woman's first occurrence of diabetic signs and symptoms occurs during pregnancy -- is relatively rare.

    Q: What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
    Generally speaking, symptoms include frequent urination, extreme thirst, blurred vision, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and hunger. Slow healing and recurring vulval, bladder, and skin infections may occur, and tingling or numbness in hands or feet. Important: Type 2 diabetics may go for years without symptoms -- increasing the risk of serious complications.

    Q: Is there a test for diabetes?
    Testing a person's urine for glucose was once used to detect diabetes, but a test called "fasting blood glucose" is now considered more accurate. For this test, you fast (don't eat) overnight or for 8 hours. Then a blood sample is drawn to measure your glucose level. "Normal" blood glucose is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). A level of 126 mg/dL or greater on two tests confirms the diagnosis of diabetes. It's recommended that adults have a fasting blood glucose test at age 45 and every 3 years thereafter.

    Q: How is diabetes treated?
    Let's start by talking about self-care to prevent the onset of diabetes -- in particular, about maintaining a healthy weight, which helps prevent type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet with moderate portions helps keep diabetes at bay, as does regular exercise. People diagnosed with diabetes may receive daily insulin injections (almost always needed for type 1 diabetes); prescription drugs that lower blood glucose or promote insulin action; or a combination of these therapies. If you have diabetes, your doctor is your best source for information about your personal treatment needs.

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