What Is Diabetes?

What Is Diabetes

You or a loved one may have recently been diagnosed, but can you really answer the question “What Is Diabetes?”

In general, diabetes is your body’s inability to naturally store and use glucose, the body’s main fuel, appropriately. As a result the sugar level in your blood increases. This condition is also referred to as diabetes mellitus.

What Is Diabetes- Glucose And Insulin

Most food contain sugar or glucose that is released into the blood stream as part of digestion when we eat. Once glucose is in the blood stream a hormone called insulin helps glucose go into different organs that need it. The insulin is produced in an organ called the pancreas.

There are 2 main types of diabetes- type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is most commonly diagnosed in childhood, while type 2 is diagnosed in later life. In type 2 diabetes, your pancreas produces insulin, but the organs do not respond to it. Type 2 diabeteics are often called insulin resistant. In type 1 diabetics, the pancreas does not produce insulin.

What Is Diabetes- Who Will Take Care Of My Diabetes?

If you have not before, you will now see several different types of health care providers. Your diabetes team could include several of the following:

Physician– your diabetes doctor may be a primary care physician or it might be a specialist called an endocrinologist.

Diabetes nurse or diabetes educator– this healthcare professional teaches you how to better manage your diabetes. Your diabetes educator will help you develop a plan based on all the different things that your other health care professionals reccomend. For example, your doctor may reccomend that you begin an insulin treatment regimen. Your diabeteic educator will make sure that you know and understand all of the different steps to do this.

Dietician- a dietician will help you plan healthy eating habits to help get your diabetes under good control. Your dietician can also help you plan for eating out and times where sticking toyour special diet may be hard- like holidays.

Pharmacist- you are likely on at least one new medicine since being diagnosed with diabetes. Your local pharmacist can help you make sure that your diabetes medication do not interact with any medications given to you by other doctors.

Counselor A new diabetes diagnosis can be really hard on you or yuor family. Sometimes an experienced counselor to help with mental health issues is needed.

What Is Diabetes- Will I Need Medication

This will depend on which type of diabetes you have ben diagnosed with, but probably yes.

Anyone with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin everyday. If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than your doctor may give you a trial of diet and exercise. If you have symptoms of diabetes, your doctoe will probably start you on medication

What Is Diabetes- Will I Need Tests?

Yes. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes you are going to have to monitor your blood sugar. Depending on how recently you have been diagnosed, your doctor will liekly ask you to test your blood sugar anywhere from 1 to 4 times per day. Type 2 diabeteics generally test less often than type 1s. You use a blood glucose meter to do this.

Your doctor will also get a test to see how well your blood sugar has been controlled over the last several months. This test is called hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c.

No matter what type of diabetes you have, you will see a bunch of different doctors and ger a bunch of different tests. We are here to try to help make that journey easier.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Accessed February 8, 2013. Diabetes Overview


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