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The Basics of Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar, or glucose. It is then released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, your pancreas releases insulin, which lets blood sugar into your body’s cells to use as energy. Those who are diabetic’s bodies do not make enough insulin, or their bodies can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should.

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops your body from making insulin. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly and are usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. Those with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day.

Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin well and cannot keep blood sugar at normal levels. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults. It can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. It usually goes away after the baby is born, but increases your risk for type 2 later on in life. Your baby may be more susceptible to type 2 diabetes later in life as well.

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there are two ways to measure blood sugar:

  • Blood sugar checks that you do yourself. These numbers tell you what your blood sugar level is at the time you test.
  • The A1C test is done in a lab or at your doctor’s office. The A1C test is a measure of the average blood sugar level over the past 3 months. It also helps your health care team decide the type and amount of diabetes medicine you may need.

Managing Blood Sugar Levels

Healthy lifestyle choices will help you manage your blood sugar levels. Control your blood sugar by acting on these tips:

  • Keeping a log of your blood sugar readings
  • Eating at regular times; do no skip meals
  • Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt
  • Track your food, drink, and exercise
  • Drinking water instead of juice/soda
  • Limit alcohol
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit rather than candy

Diabetes can easily be managed with proper preparation. Greenville Health Care is here to help, we offer routine medical diabetes services and walk-ins are always welcome. Visit us today for your next check-up!