By Patrick Olabode,MSN,RN, CNP
What is Diabetes?
If you have diabetes, your body either cannot make insulin, cannot make enough insulin or the insulin does not work correctly. The three main types of diabetes are:
1. Type 1
2. Type 2
3. Gestational diabetes (during pregnancy)
When Things Work Right
When you eat food, it is digested in the stomach and passes into the small intestine. Food breaks down into basic sugar, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, water and waste products. The sugar/glucose crosses into the bloodstream and the amount of sugar in your blood rises. The pancreas makes insulin and sends it into the bloodstream. Insulin helps sugar get from the blood into the cells so the cells can use it for energy.
Type 1 diabetes-the body fails to make insulin-common in children and young adults. Must use insulin from an outside source because their body cannot make insulin or does not make enough of it.
Type 2 diabetes-occurs after the age of 35. Is the most common type of diabetes. It results from the body not making enough insulin combined with a failure to use insulin properly (insulin resistance). Occurs more often in women, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Risk factors-include: Family history of Type 2 diabetes, intake of refined foods, little or no activity/exercise
Gestational diabetes-occurs during pregnancy. Up to 9% of all pregnant women develop diabetes during pregnancy.
Signs of Diabetes
Excessive thirst, excessive fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, weight loss, wounds that do not heal, constant hunger, itchy skin, yeast infections, numbness or tingling in feet or hands
Hypoglycemia-(Low Blood Sugar) (Note: Signs and symptoms can occur very quickly.)
Watch for: Cold, clammy, sweat, shakiness, fainting or dizziness, headaches, pounding heart, trembling or nervousness, blurred, double or tunnel vision, hunger, irritability, numbness or tingling of lips and mouth, personality change.
What to Do:
Check your blood sugar level if possible If your blood sugar is below 70 mg/dl .(or the level set for you by your physician) or you are having symptoms, eat foods or drink liquids that contain 15 grams of carbohydrates or take three to four glucose tablets. You need glucagon injection to raise your blood sugar.
Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar Higher than240 mg/dl) (Note: If you have signs and symptoms, they may occur slowly over several days.)
Watch for: Increased thirst, hunger and urination weakness, stomach pains and general aches. Heavy, labored breathing, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue or a drowsy feeling, irritability or depression, blurry vision (Note: You may not have any symptoms.)
What to Do:
Call your physician right away and report blood sugar levels higher than 240 mg/dl. Drink fluids without sugar if able to swallow, test blood sugar often, test urine for ketones if blood sugar is higher than 240 mg/dl or if you are vomiting. Give regular insulin according to your prescribed sliding scale.
Causes: Not enough insulin or skipping medication, too much food Infection, fever, pain or illness, physical and emotional stress, not getting enough exercise.
For more information on current research, visit website: diabetes.org.
(Patrick Olabode MSN, RN, CNP—firstname.lastname@example.org)