Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce any insulin. Type 1 diabetes accounts for only 5 to 10 percent of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body’s inability to make enough, or properly use insulin. It is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90 – 95 percent of diabetes.

Due to the increased prevalence of overweight and obesity and the aging population in the United States, 1 in 3 people will have Type 2 diabetes by 2050, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Normal 70-99 mg/dl
Impaired Glucose Tolerance 100-125 mg/dl
Diabetes 126 mg/dl and above

The Hemoglobin A1c level test shows blood glucose levels over the past three months. For this test, levels above 6% are considered undesirable.

Who has Diabetes?
There are 25.8 million people or 8.3% of the population in the United States who have diabetes. The good news is that diabetes is one of the most treatable of all major conditions. Appropriate dietary management, exercise and regular medical attention can bring blood sugar levels down to normal and stop the progression of long-term complications, such as blindness, kidney failure and heart disease. Studies show that even moderate weight loss and lifestyle change can reduce the risk of developing diabetes related complications or slow the progression.

Symptoms of Diabetes
In early stages, there often are no symptoms of diabetes. When glucose levels get fairly high, the following symptoms may occur:

  • fatigue
  • blurry vision
  • excessive thirst
  • excessive urination
  • unexplained weight loss

Many people are unaware that they have diabetes and uncontrolled diabetes can be harmful.

Tools to Control Blood Sugar
Exercise moves glucose out of the blood and into the cells to be used for energy. Diet decreases weight and improves insulin use. Managing carbohydrate foods decreases glucose levels. Medication may be needed along with diet and exercise to control glucose levels for people with Type 2 diabetes. Medications range from oral pills that help the body produce insulin or that assist the body in using the insulin available more effectively. If these types of medications do not control glucose levels effectively, insulin may be needed. Type 1 diabetes requires the use of insulin.

Eat Well, Live Well
When you eat, your body converts food to sugar. A person with diabetes has more difficulty processing these sugars, and higher levels end up in the blood-stream. Too much sugar or glucose in the blood-stream is the number one cause of diabetes-related complications.

Eating the right foods in the right amounts is the single most important thing you can do to control your blood-sugar level and keep yourself symptom-free. There are three major food groups: carbohydrates, protein and fat. Eating a good balance of these three groups helps keep you healthy and your blood sugar level in control.

A person with diabetes must pay special attention to carbohydrate intake, as the body converts carbohydrates more readily into sugar. Someone with diabetes has a higher risk of coronary artery disease and should also watch his/her intake of fats.

Everyone’s dietary needs are different, depending on such factors as sex, age, body-size, lifestyle and current blood-sugar levels. To ensure success, Medical Nutrition Network creates individualized food plans tailored to your needs, taking into account such factors as age, current diet, medication, and lifestyle needs. Our staff of Registered Dietitians are Certified Diabetes Educators. This allows you the opportunity to have all your nutrition-related questions and diabetes-related healthcare concerns addressed. Medical Nutrition Network will maintain contact with your physician, to provide you with the guidelines needed to maintain and improve your health. Take control of your diabetes! We are here to support and guide you.

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