Nebraska Diabetes Prevention
                 and Control Program

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                      About Diabetes

 

The following content was adapted from American Diabetes Association: All About Diabetes.

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What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease marked by elevated blood sugar levels caused by the body not producing or properly using insulin. Insulin helps glucose (sugar) leave the blood and go into the body's cells. If not treated, the sugar that builds up in your blood can damage your heart, eyes, kidneys and blood vessels.

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What are the Types of Diabetes?

Type 1
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin and is, therefore, unable to provide the cells with the glucose they need to generate energy.

  • People with this type of diabetes must take insulin shots to live. It is also called "insulin-dependent diabetes".
  • Formerly known as "juvenile onset diabetes",  it typically occurs in children and young adults, but can develop at any age.
  • About 5% to 10% of diagnosed diabetics are Type 1.

Type 2
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body either does not make enough insulin or does not efficiently use the insulin it does make (a condition known as insulin resistance).

  • Also called "non-insulin dependent diabetes" because some people who have it do not have to take insulin to stay alive. However, there are people who do need insulin shots to control blood glucose levels.
  • Typically, Type 2 diabetes is seen in adults.
  • Increasing obesity rates in children and adolescents is leading to more frequent diagnosis in younger people.
  • Most common type of diabetes, 90% to 95% of people with diabetes have Type 2.

Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed in some women when pregnant.

  • Occurs more often in African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian women.
  • Treatment is required during pregnancy to normalize blood glucose levels.
  • After pregnancy most women's blood glucose levels return to normal.
  • Women who had gestational diabetes (or gave birth to baby weighing over 9 pounds) are more likely to develop diabetes during their life.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in about 4% of pregnant women.

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What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a term used to indicate a condition in which there is an increased risk for diabetes.  Blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Two different tests can be used to determine whether you have an increased risk for diabetes: The fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) or the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The blood glucose levels measured after these tests determine whether you have normal metabolism, or whether you have prediabetes or diabetes.

  • If your blood glucose level is abnormal following the FPG, you have impaired fasting glucose (IFG).
  • If your blood glucose level is abnormal following the OGTT, you have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
  • Progression from prediabetes to diabetes is not certain. Weight loss and increased physical activity can prevent or delay diabetes and may return blood glucose levels to normal.
  • People with prediabetes are at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • As many as 57 million people in the United States have an increased risk for diabetes.

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Am I at Risk for Developing Diabetes?

Know your risk of diabetes by completing the diabetes risk test on our diabetes prevention campaign website, www.defendagainstdiabetes.ne.gov.

The following characteristics make people more likely to get Type 2 diabetes:

  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Having a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to at least one baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • Being of African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian  or some Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander heritage
  • Being inactive or exercising less than three times a week
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Being overweight compared to your height (Body Mass Index)
  • Being age 45 or older
  • Having previously been diagnosed with prediabetes
  • Having impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
  • Having low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides

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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Irritability

Type 2 Diabetes *

  • Any symptom of Type 1 diabetes
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision from time to time
  • Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections

* Often people with Type 2 diabetes have no symptoms.

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What are the Serious Complications of Diabetes?

Complications are very common in diabetes and usually develop when blood sugar levels are not controlled over a long period of time. High blood sugar levels damage blood vessels, which can affect eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves, and skin. With the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent or delay the onset of complications.

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How can Diabetes be Controlled?

Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. People with diabetes and their health care providers can work together to control the levels for blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. People with diabetes need to receive other important preventive care practices like foot exams, dilated eye exams, dental exams, and flu, pneumonia or pneumococcal shots. They need to check their blood sugar as their doctor recommends. They need to get a special blood sugar check called, an A1C, twice a year at a minimum and more frequently if necessary. They need to keep their weight down and be physically active.

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Can Diabetes be Prevented?

The onset of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through a healthy lifestyle. Change your diet, increase your level of physical activity, maintain a healthy weight ... with these positive steps, you can stay healthier longer and reduce your risk of diabetes.  Learn more at our diabetes prevention campaign page, www.defendagainstdiabetes.ne.gov

 

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icon-speaker_edited-1.gif (994 bytes) AUDIO -   Preventing Type 2 Podcast (length 2:12)

This podcast discusses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's work to prevent Type 2 diabetes and to reduce complications of diabetes. It also focuses on establishing lifestyle intervention programs for overweight or obese people at high risk of developing diabetes.  Created: 12/6/2010 by National Center for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT).   Date Released: 12/6/2010.

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icon-speaker_edited-1.gif (994 bytes) AUDIO - Diabetes: What You Should Know  (length 40:12)

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Contact Information
Diabetes Prevention and Control Program
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 95026
Lincoln, NE 68509-5026

Phone: (402) 471-4411
1-800-745-9311 (ask for Diabetes Program)
E-mail: dhhs.diabetes@nebraska.gov


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