Diabetes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is diabetes?
The term "diabetes" means that a person's blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. This is associated with an organ called the pancreas which produces a hormone called insulin. Diabetes is what happens when the pancreas either does not produce insulin at all (type 1) or it does not produce enough insulin, or the body is not using the insulin that is produced properly (type 2). There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.
These symptoms are caused by high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes and there is no known cause for the disease. A type 1 diabetic is usually diagnosed as a child or before the age of 20. It is however possible for an adult to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. With type 1 diabetes the pancreas stops producing the hormone insulin and injections are required. There is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes.
What causes type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells that produce insulin. There is no known cause for type 1 diabetes, but researchers believe that both genetics and environmental triggers play a big part in the development of type 1 diabetes.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is also referred to as adult-onset diabetes. The pancreas either does not create enough insulin, or the person's body does not appropriately use the insulin it makes. When you have type 2 diabetes, sugar builds up in your bloodstream instead of being used for energy. Many factors can increase the chances of getting type 2 diabetes, such as: family history, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight or having high cholesterol. Race can also increase the chances of having type 2 diabetes: Aboriginal, Hispanic, African, Asian or South Asian are populations that generally have a higher risk.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
Some factors that can contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes are:
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
A type 1 one diabetic relies completely on insulin therapy and diet and there is currently no cure. Type 2 diabetics can either control blood sugars through medication, diet and exercise, and occasionally it can require insulin therapy as well. Type 2 can be treated in many ways or with a combination of these treatments mentioned above. Type 2 is sometimes preventable; the best way to prevent diabetes is to exercise regularly and maintain a body weight that is appropriate for your height. However, some people have such a strong genetic disposition to type 2 diabetes or to obesity that weight loss and exercise simply cannot prevent the disease.
What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is sometimes diagnosed prior to being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes does not require medication and when diagnosed the chance of it developing into type 2 diabetes can be dramatically decreased by taking immediate action. Blood sugar levels can be reduced by making some simple lifestyle changes, such as including exercise in your daily activities and choosing to make healthy, low-fat meal choices.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that starts during pregnancy. It affects about 4% of all pregnant women, and usually begins in the 5th or 6th month of pregnancy (between 24 and 28 weeks). Most often, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born.
What type of foods should a diabetic eat?
Is it always a good idea to meet with a dietician after being diagnosed with diabetes to establish an appropriate meal plan. Charlotte Varem-Sanders is an Edmonton Registered Dietician, and can answer diet-related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Health Canada has recently developed a new Healthy Eating Guide that diabetics can use. Alberta Diabetes Foundation has diabetic-friendly Company's Coming Cookbooks. Foods with a low-glycemic index are an ideal choice for a diabetic.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that allows the body to keep the level of glucose within a normal range. A diabetic either does not produce any insulin, not enough insulin, or does not use insulin properly.
What is an insulin pump?
An insulin pump is a pager-sized device that can be worn by an insulin-dependent diabetic which delivers insulin around the clock, much like a healthy pancreas. Insulin pump therapy is the most advanced method for precise and adjustable insulin delivery, and is an exceptional alternative to multiple daily injections (MDI) for the treatment of diabetes.
Commercial insulin pumps are external devices that are not implanted in the body. The injection device is inserted with an introducer needle, just under the skin. After the needle is removed, there is a small flexible tube called a canula left in place which is connected to the pump through a plastic tubing. Discuss insulin pump therapy with your physician to see if you are a good candidate.