on the Rise
Diabetes is spreading like a wildfire in
our communities. Each year more adults
and children are being diagnosed with
diabetes. Between 1990 and 1998 there
was a 33% increase in the U. S. And in
Illinois, 900,000 adults have been diagnosed
and there are 3 million more at risk.
Doctors don't know why some people get
diabetes and others do not. Living with
diabetes means living with complications
that may cause an early death. Diabetes
increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke,
blindness, amputations, kidney failure,
nerve damage, and gum disease.
What is diabetes?
After eating a meal, the liver changes the
starch and sugar eaten into glucose
(sugar). Then it is released into the blood.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. It allows sugar from
the blood to move into the cells where it is used as
energy. Every part of the body needs a
supply of glucose (energy) to move. It is
used for lots of things such as breathing
and blinking to walking and running.
If your pancreas does not make any
insulin, it is called Type I diabetes. Type
II diabetes occurs when the body cannot
make enough-or cannot properly use insulin.
Normally, the body's natural
control system releases
just the right amount of
insulin. In diabetics, the
control system no longer
works the way it should.
Controlling Blood Glucose
Normal blood glucose is 90 to 105. The
goal for people with diabetes is to keep
blood glucose as close to normal as
possible. Although medication helps, it
cannot work alone. A controlled amount
of carbohydrates (sugar and starch) must
be eaten on a regular basis.
It is important for diabetics to eat about
the same amount of food, around the
same time each day. A moderate amount
of exercise is also important to keep the
balance. Diet, exercise,
(if it is prescribed)
keeps blood glucose
at desired levels.
Are You Diabetic?
The signs of diabetes may develop slowly
in some people. Others may not show any
signs at all. Signs to look for are:
- Increased and frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss along with increased
- Blurred vision
- Weakness and feeling tired
- Frequent vaginal yeast infections
- And skin infections
The only sure way to detect diabetes is to
have a blood test. Make an appointment
with your doctor or at a clinic. Fast (no
food or beverages) for 12 hours before
testing to make sure you get good test
For example: If you schedule a 10 a.m.
appointment, make sure your last food
eaten is before 10 p.m. the night before.
You can drink water, but nothing else.
Remember not to eat until after your
If you are diabetic, your doctor will tell you. The diagnosis of diabetes
made when glucose levels are greater than
200 on two different tests. Most people
also have one or more signs too. See a
doctor to be sure.
Edited by Katherine Reuter, Extension Educator, Consumer
and Family Economics, University of Illinois Extension,Countryside Extension
Prepared by Susan E. Taylor, Extension Educator, Consumer
and Family Economic, University of Illinois Extension, Countryside
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