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Diabetes 101

What is diabetes?

  • A disease of high blood glucose (sugar) levels.

How does diabetes happen?

  • Typically hereditary, the diabetes gene is activated with certain situations (obesity, age, stress, injury, sleep deprivation, smoking).

What about food and insulin?

  • We get energy from food, primarily in the form of glucose.
  • All food turns into glucose, and we have glucose stored internally in our liver.
  • A gland behind the stomach called the pancreas should make enough of the hormone insulin to handle any food.
  • Insulin unlocks the cells (the smallest component of the body) and allows glucose to enter.
  • With diabetes, the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin or use insulin efficiently.
  • Without enough insulin, the glucose piles up in the bloodstream and can cause many problems.

What are the goals of diabetes self-management?

  • Lower your glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol to a safe level.
  • Live a full life!

When to call the doctor?

  • If your glucose is less than 70 or more than 250 for two days.
  • If your glucose is less than 180 and you can't keep food down
    (your medication dose may need changing).
  • If you are vomiting or have diarrhea.
  • If you are not tolerating your medication.

What do I do when I'm sick?

  • Check glucose at least every four hours.
  • Drink plenty of sugar-free, caffeine-free liquids (examples include water, tea, broth).
  • You still need small amounts of carbohydrate food for healing.
  • If you take diabetes medication and glucose is more than 180, continue the usual dose.
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