Diabetes affects how the body processes the sugar found in food. Insulin is the hormone responsible for using sugar as an energy source in the body. People who have diabetes either can't produce enough insulin or they can't use it properly (insulin resistance). As a result, sugar accumulates in the blood.
Most people with diabetes (90 percent) have type 2 diabetes. Although sometimes referred to as adult-onset diabetes, it can develop at any age. People with type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, can't make enough insulin and so are dependent on taking insulin by injection. A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, can develop during pregnancy when a womans's insulin needs increase. In most cases, pregnant women with this kind of diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by modifying their diet and the condition resolves itself soon after delivery.
Most people who develop type 2 diabetes are over 40 years of age and are overweight. Often, other members of their family
also have diabetes. The condition develops gradually.
People with diabetes might:
Some diabetics are unaware that they have the disease because their symptoms are mild and easily overlooked. Thus it can take a long time before a diagnosis is made. When blood glucose levels stay high, serious symptoms might develop, including :
Over time, diabetes damages blood vessels, heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. Diabetes is the first cause of blindness in North America. It is also a risk factor for developping heart diseases. All of this because diabetics have too much sugar in their blood.
Diabetes is diagnosed by measuring blood sugar levels at a time when a person's blood sugar level is normally at it's lowest point: in the morning (on waking). In addition, blood sugar level measured at any time of the day, without regard to the interval since the last meal is a good indicator for diabetes. Blood sugar levels are expressed in millimoles of sugar per liter of blood (mmol/L). Blood sugar levels higher than those found in the following chart are usually indicative of diabetes.
|Blood sugar levels|
|Upon arising in the morning||≥ 7.0 mmol/L|
|At any time of the day||≥ 11.1 mmol/L|
If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, then your goal is to bring your blood sugar levels to within the healthy range and keep them there as much as possible. To do this, you'll need to:
|Blood sugar levels||Target for most
|Target for pregnant
and before meals
|4.0 to 7.0 mmol/L||less then 5.3 mmol/L|
|1 hour after a meal||less then 7.8 mmol/L|
|2 hours after a meal||5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L||less then 6.7 mmol/L|
Your doctor may also decide to put you on diabetes medicine to help with your blood sugar levels. Medications include oral diabetes medications and insulin injections. If you are prescribed medications to help control your diabetes, talk to your pharmacist about how to take the medication properly. Your pharmacist can also suggest the best blood glucose meter for you to use for testing your blood sugar levels at home.
It is also quite possible that your doctor asks you for glycosylated haemoglobin dosage. This blood test provides informations about the control of your diabetes over the last 3 months. The target value for most diabetic patients is ≤ 7%.
If you - or someone you care about - have diabetes, then you need to learn as much as you can about the disease and how to manage it on a daily basis. Exercise and eating a well-balanced diet should be a priority. If medications have been prescribed, make sure they are taken as ordered. In addition:
For more information :
© Copyright Vigilance Santé
The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.