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Living Well

Getting Down With Diabetes

Last updated: Nov 09, 2009


What is diabetes?
People with diabetes have too much sugar (or glucose) in their blood. Although glucose is the main source of fuel for your body, having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, slow-healing bacterial and fungal infections, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.

Diabetes Facts

  • Diabetes affects an estimated 24 million people in the United States
  • More than 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Current trends suggest that 1 in 3 people born today will eventually have diabetes

Types of Diabetes
People with prediabetes have higher than normal glucose levels, although their levels are not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Prediabetes can sometimes be reversed with weight loss, exercise, and dietary changes; however, the condition often eventually develops into type 2 diabetes. Because even prediabetes can increase the risk of health complications, it is important to control blood sugar levels.

Type 1 diabetes often is diagnosed in childhood and usually develops before age 30. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin and must receive regular insulin injections to manage their disease.

Typically diagnosed in people age 30 years or older, type 2 diabetes results when the body cannot effectively use or produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes often is associated with obesity, a family history of diabetes, age, and gestational diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes take either oral or injectable medications to control their disease.

Watch a short video to see how type 1 and type 2 diabetes occur.

During mid-to-late pregnancy, some women experience elevated blood sugar or gestational diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes cannot make and use all the insulin they need. Although gestational diabetes often resolves after pregnancy, some women who have it are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes after they give birth.

Prediabetes and diabetes can occur in all people; however, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and the elderly have greater risk for the disease compared with people of other ethnic backgrounds.

Diabetes Symptoms
Because prediabetes often has no signs or symptoms, it is important to check blood sugar levels and be aware of symptoms like that of type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms for Type 1 Diabetes

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss despite increased appetite
  • Changes in menstruation

Symptoms for Type 2 Diabetes

  • Increased appetite and thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores and frequent skin infections
  • Erectile dysfunction

Symptoms for Gestational Diabetes
Although gestational diabetes might have no symptoms, some things to watch for include

  • Increased appetite and thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue

Robert Rosenbaum, MD, a senior member of Endocrinology at Summit Medical Group, notes, "A healthy diet and regular exercise are the cornerstones of therapy for all people with diabetes. The good news is that people with new-onset diabetes often can manage their disease with diet and exercise and avoid the need for medication."

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is celebrating National Diabetes Month® this November by encouraging all people to control their weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol with regular exercise and a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Although there is no cure for diabetes, proper education and support can help people with diabetes manage their glucose levels and protect their health. 

Find out if you are at risk for prediabetes or diabetes.
Call Summit Medical Group Endocrinology today 
at 908-277-8667.


1. American Diabetes Association. Accessed November 3, 2009.