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Help For Diabetics

Part 1 of 2 - Getting Started

Help For Diabetics
Following symptoms like increased urination, increased thirst and unexplained weight loss or gain, a doctor may recommend certain tests to diagnose, or rule out, diabetes. Some of the tests available to test for Diabetes are an A1C test, a fasting plasma glucose test and an oral glucose tolerance test. Once tested you may need to wait 24-72 hours for results. A diagnosis of diabetes can be overwhelming and you may need help and support both after the diagnosis and in the years to come.

What Is Diabetes?
Individuals with diabetes have high blood glucose also called high blood sugar. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism, which is the way the body uses digested food for energy. The digestive tracts main job is to break down carbs into glucose. With the help of the hormone insulin, cells throughout the body absorb glucose and use it for energy.

Diabetes occurs when the body doesn't make enough insulin or is unable to use insulin effectively or both. This causes glucose to build up in the blood instead of being absorbed by cells in the body. The body's cells are then starved of energy despite the high blood glucose levels.

Complications of diabetes include damage to nerves and blood vessels which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dental disease and amputations. Other more rare complications include depression, problems in pregnancy and loss of mobility with aging.

Types of Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 - this was formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes and is most commonly diagnosed in teens, children and young adults. In this type of diabetes, the beta cells in the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body's immune system has destroyed them.

Type 2 Diabetes - this type of diabetes was previously known as adult-onset diabetes. It is the most common type and occurs in 90-95% of individuals with diabetes. It can develop at any age, even childhood. Type 2 is most often associated with excess weight, physical inactivity and a family history of diabetes. Type 2 typically begins with insulin resistance, a condition linked to excess weight in which muscle, liver and fat cells do not use insulin correctly. This causes the body to need more insulin to help glucose enter cells to be used for energy. The pancreas keeps up with the demand initially by producing more insulin but in time loses its ability to produce enough in response to meals resulting in a rise in blood glucose levels.

Gestational Diabetes - this type of diabetes develops only during pregnancy. The hormones that are produced during pregnancy increases the amount of insulin needed to control blood glucose levels. If the body can't meet the need women develop gestational diabetes during the last stages of pregnancy. This type typically goes away after pregnancy concludes.