a medical condition where the body ceases to produce insulin
- a hormone that is essential for converting sugar,
starches, and other foods into energy.In some diabetics (particularly Type II) insulin is
produced by the pancreas; however the body is unable to
utilize its own insulin.With both of these conditions the blood sugar remains
diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure,
blindness, loss of limbs, nerve damage, pregnancy
complications, and death.
people with diabetes die from a heart attack or a stroke,
and they die younger than the rest of the population.Depending upon which expert is speaking, diabetics
are 3 to 6 times more likely to die of the flu.Therefore heart healthy eating and exercise, along
with appropriate medications, are essential for a diabetic
to have the best chance at a long life.Every diabetic should have a yearly flu vaccine. A
pneumonia shot, with proper boosters should also be on the
There are 3
main types of diabetes:
I, also known as juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent
diabetes mellitus (IDDM)
II, known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent
diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)
diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults;
however it is possible for older adults to get Type I
Tyler Moore, for instance is a Type I diabetic, and she has
spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation for more
than twenty years.)In
Type I diabetes, the immune system attacks insulin-producing
beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them.With little or no insulin, the cells are prevented
from taking up sugar from the blood.A Type I diabetic must have daily injections of
insulin, and she or he must adhere to a strict diet, while
monitoring glucose levels several times a day.
diabetes symptoms include fatigue, unquenchable thirst,
frequent urination, constant hunger, weight loss, and
not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person can lapse
into a coma and die.
Type II diabetes, often called adult onset, is by far the most
common form making up about 90% to 95% of all cases of
this disease occurs in middle age. Recently,
however, more and more cases of Type II diabetes has been
discovered in over weight young children.80% of people with Type II diabetes are overweight.In Type II diabetes the pancreas produces enough
insulin; however the body cannot use the insulin properly.
diabetes symptoms include fatigue, feeling ill, unquenchable
thirst, frequent urination (usually at night), sudden weight
loss or gain, blurred vision, frequent infections, and slow
healing of wounds.
diabetes develops (or is discovered) during pregnancy.It usually disappears after birth, but there is a
greater risk of such women developing Type II diabetes later
condition occurs in 2% to 5% of pregnancies, with an even
higher rate in African Americans, Latino Americans, and
Who Is at
you are more than 20% over your ideal body weight, or if
your mother, father, brother or sister have diabetes you
are at risk.
birth to a baby over 9 pounds, or having had gestational
diabetes, you are at risk.
blood pressure and abnormal blood lipid levels, or high
triglycerides (greater than 250 mg/dL) can make you at
risk for diabetes.
you are on high levels of prednisone for asthma or
allergies or other autoimmune diseases, you are very
much at risk for diabetes.
you are Native American, Asian American, Hispanic
American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander you are at
high risk for diabetes.
African American communities diabetes has reached epidemic
25% of African American women 55 years or older have
is nearly twice the rate in Caucasian women.The rate of infection for all African American women
over the age of 20 is an astounding 11.8%!
suggests that some people carry a gene that predisposes them
toward impaired glucose tolerance, which is one of the risk
factors for diabetes.This
is easy for me to believe, since my mother's mother, my
mother, my father, his mother, and my brother all had
also am a diabetic.Including
my children, maintaining proper body weight has been a
battle for four generations.Since I am also an asthmatic, and have to take
prednisone frequently, this also exacerbates my diabetes.However all is NOT lost!
Diabetes Be Prevented?
Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) Clinical Trial, conducted
by the National Institutes of Health illustrated that the
II diabetes can be prevented or delayed in people at high
this be accomplished?A
weight loss of 5% to 7% of body weight and 30 minutes of
sustained exercise, such as walking, on most days, can slow
down the onset or prevent diabetes.These lifestyle changes worked equally as well for
men and women, and it was nearly miraculous for people over
I know that
this is true, because two years ago, at the age of 58, I
began a diet and walking program on a motorized treadmill.I was able to get off all diabetes medication, and I
have lost over forty pounds!My diabetes is well under control, and my A1C test (a
blood test which measures the sugar molecules on the
hemoglobin) has gone down from 7.5 to 6.3.A perfect test would be 6.0 or below!
For Type I
diabetes, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive
and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is sponsoring a nationwide study
called the Diabetes Prevention Trial Type 1 (DPT-1).They are recruiting people who have close relatives with the
studies and smaller studies in people have indicated that
Type I diabetes may be delayed in high risk individuals, by
use of small doses of insulin.
Other Contributing Health Factors?
diabetes is often accompanied by high blood pressure and
have shown that controlling high blood pressure with an ACE
inhibitor drug, along with a cholesterol lowering statin
drug, in small doses, can significantly reduce the risk of
stroke and heart attack.In my case, my blood pressure is now normal, and my
cholesterol was cut by one-third!Diet and exercise alone could not do that!
What To Do
If You Are Diagnosed With Diabetes?
not a one-size-fits-all disease.Some people control their disease, as I do, with diet
this is not an easy choice.I have a list of sugary foods that I dream about
glazed donuts, chocolate chip cookies, to name a few; but I
just don't eat them.I've developed my own recipes, which help me feel
less deprived, and I keep a positive attitude.
essential that you work with your own physician.Eat sensibly and on time.Take your medicine on time.Test your glucose levels often.I test mine up to six times a day, especially before
and after exercise.Check
your feet for cuts, bruises, and abrasions.Learn everything you can about your disease.With your doctor, choose a program and stick to it.Stay positive.Celebrate
life - your life!You
just may be surprised with a long and happy one!