WHAT'S ALL THIS TALK ABOUT DIABETES?
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels. It is a chronic, widespread condition in which the body does not adequately produce
and/or properly use insulin, the hormone needed to transport glucose (sugar) from the
blood into the cells of the body for energy.
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes
accounts for five to ten percent of all diagnosed diabetes cases in the United States,
and may be caused by factors such as autoimmune disease, genetics and/or environment.
Type 2 diabetes results from the body not producing enough insulin or not using the
insulin produced adequately. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with age, obesity,
family health history, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism,
physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity, and accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of
all diabetes cases in the United States.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Prolonged elevated blood sugar levels can lead to a number of potentially serious conditions,
including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.
To reduce the risk of developing these complications, it's important to maintain
target A1C levels. A1C is a measure of the average blood glucose levels over the
past two- to three-month period. A1C goals should be individualized. However, in
general, the American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C of less than 7 percent
for most adults with diabetes. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
(AACE) encourages even tighter control, recommending an A1C of 6.5 percent or less.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Talk to your doctor and discuss the options to get your blood sugar levels under
control. Since every person with diabetes is different, you should speak with your
doctor to determine the most appropriate plan. It is also a good idea to discuss
proper diet, fitness, and other healthy lifestyle practices for people living with
diabetes. For more tips, check out some additional