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About glucose
When you eat, your body breaks down all carbohydrates, and some portion of proteins, into a sugar substance called glucose (GLUE-coas). Then, with help from the hormone, insulin, glucose enters the cells, where it becomes your body's major source of fuel.
Associated foot problems
Diabetics are susceptible to foot problems for several reasons. First, diabetes may contribute to vascular disease, reducing blood flow to extremities like the lower legs and feet.
Complications
Many of the long-term complications of diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) are due to nerve and blood vessel damage. Because glucose is able to directly enter the cells in your nervous system, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys, these structures are more vulnerable to harm.
Defining diabetes
Diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) is a metabolic disorder, in which your body has trouble converting food into energy. It's characterized by a blood sugar, or glucose, level that's chronically high.
Diabetes and illnesses
Because illnesses put stress on your body, they can increase the amount of glucose, or sugar, in your blood. Therefore, if you're diabetic (die-uh-BET-ick), it's especially important to control your blood sugar level when you get sick.
Diabetes and pregnancy
Being diabetic and pregnant, or developing the disease during pregnancy puts an added stress on your body, leading to a higher risk of complications. To reduce these risks, it's important to keep blood sugar levels under control.
Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetes can damage your blood vessels, particularly the tiny vessels that feed your eyes. When the retina is affected, this is known as diabetic retinopathy (ret-in-OP-ah-thee).
Diabetics and cholesterol
A high cholesterol level can increase anyone's risk of cardiovascular problems, but it's especially dangerous for diabetics (die-uh-BET-icks). Even in the absence of other factors, uncontrolled diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) may damage the heart and circulatory system.
Dialysis
One of the possible long-term complications of diabetes is kidney failure, when both kidneys shut down. If this occurs, you'll need dialysis (die-AL-uh-sis), to replace the functions your kidneys once performed.
Diet
A proper diet is an essential factor in treating and controlling diabetes. In fact, for many insulin-dependent diabetics, a program of weight control and diet alone is sufficient to treat the disorder.
Eating out
Having diabetes doesn't mean never dining out again. When you become familiar with your diet plan and can estimate portion sizes, eating out can be easy.
Emotions and stress
Emotional stress can raise your blood sugar, because your body responds to this challenge by dumping excess glucose (GLUE-coas) into the blood. Glucose serves as fuel during both normal activity, and in situations of danger.
Exercise
Exercise is an important part of the treatment program for diabetes. Regular exercise helps maintain overall health, and it benefits the heart and blood vessels, which can improve the diabetic's circulation.
Food exchange facts
A food exchange program can be helpful for diabetics, or anyone who needs to follow a special diet. In this system, foods are grouped under one of the following categories: starches and breads; meats; vegetables; fruit; milk; or fats.
Food labels
Because a low-fat, high-fiber diet has so many benefits for people with diabetes, you'll want to carefully examine food labels when you go shopping. Look at the nutrition label on each can or package.
High blood sugar info
Hyperglycemia (hy-per-gly-seem-i-uh), more commonly known as high blood sugar, occurs when there is too little insulin to control the amount of glucose (gloo-kose) in the blood.
High fiber foods
As part of a healthy, low-fat eating plan, fiber fights diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) in several ways. It helps you feel full sooner, aiding in weight loss.
Insulin information
Insulin (IN-suh-lin) is a hormone which helps sugar move out of the bloodstream and into your cells, where it can be burned as fuel. Normally, insulin is produced by the pancreas (PAN-cree-us).
Kidney problems
Diabetes is the single most common cause of chronic kidney failure in the United States. This is due to the deterioration of small blood vessels brought on by the prolonged high level of glucose in the blood.
Low blood sugar
Though diabetes is a problem involving consistently high blood sugar levels, you'll also need to watch for swings in the other direction. When blood sugar falls too low, which is defined as a reading of 70 or below, this is known as hypoglycemia (hy-poe-gly-SEE-mee-uh).
Motivation tips
It can be discouraging to find out that you or someone you love has diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees), especially when you're told it's a lifelong condition.
Oral medications
Type 2 diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees), in which your body can't use insulin properly, is sometimes treated with oral medication. However, medication won't work by itself: you'll also need to follow a diet and exercise plan.
Planning your meals
It's especially important for diabetics (die-uh-BET-icks) to limit their total calories, eat a variety of foods, and maintain a certain balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Research
Diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) research is supported and carried out by a number of U-S institutions, both government and independent. Thanks to these organizations, remarkable advances are being made.
Should I eat carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy and are an essential part of the diet. People with diabetes (die-uh-BEET-eez) should make healthy choices about eating the right kind of carbohydrates.
Sugar substitutes
While limited amounts of sugar are allowed for most diabetics (die-uh-BET-icks), you can often save calories, by using a sugar substitute. There are two main types of artificial sweeteners: nutritive, (NEW-trih-tiv), and non-nutritive.
Sugars
One common misconception about people with diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) is that they can't eat sugar, because it increases the level of sugar in their blood.
Symptoms and risk factors
All forms of diabetes cause the same main symptoms, including frequent urination, excessive thirst, and a 'run-down,' tired feeling. Additional symptoms may include tingling in the hands and feet, blurred vision, itching skin, and slow healing cuts and bruises.
Testing blood sugar levels
If you're diabetic (die-uh-BET-ic), it's important to test your blood sugar level on a regular basis. This may be once a day, or several times daily, depending on the doctor's instructions.
Treatment strategies
While there's no cure for diabetes, the disorder can be managed. Your treatment will vary according to your medical history, the type of diabetes you have, and how well you can regulate blood sugar levels on your own.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) results when your body produces insufficient insulin, or no insulin at all. Without insulin, excess sugar collects in the blood, instead of being burned as fuel by your cells.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) is a disorder in which your body can't make use of the insulin it manufactures. Unlike type 1 diabetes, it's not usually the quantity of insulin being produced, but the quality, which causes problems.
What is gestational diabetes?
Diabetes that occurs as a result of pregnancy is known as gestational (jess-TAY-shun-ul) diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees). Risk factors for this condition include obesity, a family history of diabetes, age over 25, or previously having a child who was very large, had birth defects, or was stillborn.
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