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Online Information for Diabetic Health Care
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More than sixteen million Americans have Diabetes. Half do not realize they have the disease.

What about you?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that keeps your body from turning the food you eat into energy. It comes in two forms, Type I or Insulin dependent diabetes usually occurring before the age of twenty; and Type II most often occurring after the age of forty. For Type I diabetics, the pancreas stops producing Insulin and they are treated by insulin injections. Type II diabetics may still produce insulin, but the amounts have decreased or their body may not utilize what is produced.

What happens when you eat Diabetes changes what happens when you eat
During digestion, your body changes most foods into a sugar called Glucose . Glucose enters your blood and travels to your cells. Food changes into Glucose Food Still changes into glucose With diabetes, your body still changes foods into Glucose. Glucose enters your blood and travels to the cells.
During digestion, your body tells the Pancreas to make a chemical called Insulin. Insulin, like glucose enters your blood and travels to your cells. Your pancreas does not make insulin Your Pancreas doesn't make insulin, there is nothing to unlock the cells so glucose can enter. It remains in your blood instead making your blood sugar rise.
Glucose and insulin meet at your cells. Insulin acts as a key, unlocking the cells to let the glucose enter. Your cells can then burn the glucose to give you energy. Insulin lets glucose into the cells Your body looks for new fuel Without glucose, your cells try to get energy from stored fat, but fats leave a waste product called Ketones. Ketones build up and cause a dangerous condition called Ketoacidosis.

Scientists do not know exactly how people get diabetes. but it may be because they do not have a gene that protects against it. They Probably do have some genes that make it possible for them to get diabetes, especially if certain other things happen. For example, a virus, too much stress, or being overweight all seem to add to a person's risk for getting diabetes.

Diabetes is very complicated. Some people's cells do not respond well to insulin. They have to take large amounts of insulin or diabetes medicine to make the insulin/glucose balance work. Other people do respond well to insulin and food, and their blood glucose levels go way up and way down quite quickly.

Wounds that will not heal
Because of nerve damage and poor circulation, diabetics have trouble with sores that heal slowly or not at all.
Always tired
Without insulin, a diabetic's cells are not able to utilize food. This causes weight loss.
Always Hungry
Since a diabetic's cells are unable to process food, they are virtually starving.
Blurred Vision
The high concentration of glucose in the blood changes the osmotic pressure in the eye , causing the lens to swell.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Lack of nutrients in the cells causes weight loss.
Crave Fluids
The body eliminates glucose by urination. The loss of fluid causes thirst.
Family History
Diabetes is more likely to occur if there are family members with the disease.
Numbness and Tingling of the Extremities
Nerve damage is common with diabetes. It is most notable in the feet and hands.
Excess weight is known to bring about diabetes.
Sexual Dysfunction
One of the side effects of diabetes is that men lose the ability to perform sexually.
Blood Sugar
If diabetes is not treated a person's blood glucose levels can rise to ten times normal.
Frequent Urination
Untreated diabetes will cause frequent urination because the body tries to eliminate excess glucose through urination.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your health care provider

Having diabetes is not always easy, but people with this condition can live full and happy lives. You do have to think about what and when you eat, how you exercise, and when you take your medication. Everyone, whether they have diabetes or not, should think about what they eat and how they exercise to stay healthy and live long productive lives. A bonus is how good you will feel knowing you are doing well and managing your diabetes.

You are not alone. People can help. Your doctor and nurse, a diabetes educator, a dietitian, your pharmacist, your family and friends can answer your questions, give you helpful tips and support. People who have diabetes sometimes get together and talk about problems and how to work them out. Companies who make insulin and other diabetes care products try to help by making books and offering support groups.

For more information call: The American Diabetes Association, 1-800-232-3472

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