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About Diabetes

Diabetes is a lifelong health condition in which the body is not able to make or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps body cells use sugar (glucose) for energy.

You can manage diabetes and live a healthy life with meal planning, exercise and medication. To learn more, choose from the following topics or keep reading.

Types of Diabetes

There are three types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes usually affects children and younger adults but can affect people of any age. In type 1 diabetes, the body makes little or no insulin. This lack of insulin keeps sugar from entering cells and being used as energy, causing blood sugar levels to remain high. Click this link to learn about the effects of diabetes on the body

People with type 1 diabetes always have to take insulin shots. This type only affects 5-10% of all people with diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

This type usually affects adults over 40 but can occur in younger people as well. More young people are getting type 2 diabetes due to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise and being overweight.

With this type of diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin or can't use the insulin it makes. This is called insulin resistance. People with type 2 diabetes might be able to manage it with diet and exercise. If this is not effective, pills and/or insulin could be necessary. 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2.

Gestational Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born. It is caused by the placenta making hormones that work against the mother's insulin and cause blood sugars to rise. Undetected or untreated gestational diabetes can cause problems for the mother and her baby. Follow this link to learn more about gestational diabetes and our pregnancy program specifically designed for women with pre-existing or gestational diabetes.

Diagnosing Diabetes

It is important to know about diabetes symptoms and risk factors. If any of the symptoms are present or you are at high risk, contact your physician to set up a screening. Diabetes is usually diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar. A blood sample will be drawn from your finger or from a vein in your arm after you have gone for at least eight hours without eating or drinking anything.

A fasting blood sugar of 126 mg/dl or higher indicates that you have diabetes. It can also be diagnosed if a random blood sugar test (done any time during the day) shows a 200 mg/d or higher result.

Either test should be confirmed on a second day to make the diagnosis - unless you have significant diabetes symptoms. The blood test must be done on a laboratory instrument in a clinic or hospital since home glucose monitors are not accurate enough to diagnose diabetes.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, call the Avera McKennan Diabetes Center at 605-322-8995.