Diabetes occurs when blood glucose levels rise because your body either is not producing enough insulin and/or your body is unable to use it correctly.
Type 1 (5% of cases):
The pancreas no longer makes insulin, so blood glucose levels rise. If you have Type 1 diabetes, you must have insulin to survive. A healthy diet and exercise are also important.
Type 2 (95% of cases):
The body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it correctly—known as insulin resistance. Blood sugar may be controlled with healthy diet/exercise, oral medication or a combination of oral medication and insulin.
The doctor will check your glucose levels with one or more of the following tests.
- Fasting glucose
- No food or drinks, except water, for at least 8 hours
- Results of 126 or greater indicate diabetes
- Average glucose for 2-3 months
- Results of 6.5 or greater indicate diabetes
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
- Glucose levels before and 2 hours after drinking a special sweetened drink
- Results of 200 or greater indicate diabetes
Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of the symptoms may not be obvious or are related to aging. Recent studies indicate that early detection and treatment of diabetes can significantly decrease the chance of developing complications.
Know the Signs
- Frequent urination (including more at night)
- Unusual thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Losing weight without trying
- Extreme fatigue and irritability
- Frequent infections
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that heal slowly
- Tingling/numbness in feet or hands
- Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, call you doctor’s office immediately. No symptoms? Many times people with diabetes have no symptoms. It’s ok to ask your doctor to check your glucose anyway.
Are you at risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
- Have prediabetes
- 45 or older
- Family history of diabetes
- Don’t exercising regularly
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL, also known as "good" cholesterol and/or high levels of triglycerides
- From certain racial and ethnic groups: Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives
- Had gestational diabetes, or had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth