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An overview

Diabetes has become a huge concern in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 84 million American adults have prediabetes – a health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not so high to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, a huge 90 percent of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it and are therefore susceptible to developing Type 2 diabetes.

Having diabetes makes it difficult for your body to properly process and use glucose from the food you eat. There are various types of diabetes, each with different causes. Some types of diabetes can be prevented by discarding harmful habits and adopting a healthy lifestyle. What is diabetes and what causes blood sugar to be high?

 

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to take up sugar – in form of glucose – into its cells and process it for energy. This results in an accumulation of extra sugar in your bloodstream. Poor management of diabetes can cause various complications to your body’s organs including your heart, kidneys, and eyes.

There are different types of diabetes as will be explained subsequently. Fortunately, Type 2 diabetes, which represents the vast majority of diagnosed diabetes cases, can be  prevented. The condition can also be managed without medication through lifestyle changes. On the other hand, Type 1 diabetes mostly has genetic roots and as such is not preventable.

 

What causes blood sugar to be high?

If you are wondering what causes blood sugar to be high, you need to understand the process first. Digestion occurs when food is broken down into various different nutrient sources. For example, when you consume carbohydrates, your body system breaks it down into sugar or glucose. However, the glucose in your bloodstream needs help in form of insulin to get to its final destination which are your body’s cells.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas, which is an organ located behind your stomach. Insulin unlocks your cell wall to allow glucose to enter your body’s cells. This glucose is what provides the energy your body tissues and organs need to function optimally.

Now, if you have diabetes, there are two case scenarios:

  1. Your pancreas does not make enough insulin or any insulin at all
  2. Your pancreas makes enough insulin but your body’s cells do not respond to it and can’t use it properly.

If the glucose in your bloodstream can’t get into your body’s cells, your blood glucose level automatically rises. So, this is basically what causes blood sugar to be high.

 

What are the different types of diabetes?

  1. Type 1 diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means your body is attacking itself. Here, the cells that produce insulin in your pancreas are destroyed. It’s usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can also develop at any age. People who suffer from this type of diabetes need to take insulin every day.

 

  1. Type 2 diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body’s cells don’t respond to the insulin as it normally should. It is the most prevalent type of diabetes and occurs mostly in middle-aged and older people.

 

  1. Prediabetes

As the name implies, this type of diabetes precedes Type 2 diabetes. Here, your blood glucose levels are quite high, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

 

  1. Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in some women during pregnancy. Often times, it goes away after giving birth. However, if you have gestational diabetes you’re at more risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.

 

What are the symptoms of Diabetes?

People with prediabetes do not usually experience symptoms in the early stages. That said, some common signs of Type 1 and 2 diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Recurring infections

 

How do you manage Diabetes?

Managing diabetes involves taking crucial steps to put your risk factors in check. Here are some tips to bear in mind:

  • Follow a diet plan to keep your blood sugar levels as normal as possible. Eat more vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, healthy fats, or dash diet. These diets have high nutritional value and are low in fats and calories. You may need to visit a professional dietitian to understand nutrition and meal planning.
  • Maintain your blood cholesterol levels as near the normal ranges as possible.
  • Manage your blood pressure. The acceptable blood pressure should not be over 140/90 mmHg.
  • Exercising regularly. Try to spend at least 30 minutes, five days a week walking, swimming or doing other physical activities you enjoy.
  • If you are obese, work on achieving a healthy weight. You may need to develop a weight-loss plan to this effect.
  • You might also need to take prescribed medication and insulin. Ensure you follow the recommended dosage and when to take it.
  • Monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure levels at home.
  • If you smoke, endeavor to quit smoking. This is part of what causes blood sugar to be high.
  • Keep your appointments with your healthcare providers and follow instructions given by your doctor.

 

If you have more questions or concerns about diabetes or are seeking for a way to live a healthier life, we are just a phone call away. Otherwise, you could also search for community health center near me on your device to access the nearest health clinic.

For more information, please call

  • Pharmacy is 704-335-0505
  • Health & Wellness is 704-393-7720, ext. 1484
  • Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders both is 704-212-5463
  • Food Pantry is 704-393-7720, ext. 1486
  • Diabetes Management is 704-393-7720, ext. 1028
  • Community Outreach is 704-393-7720, ext. 1496
  • Mammography is 704-393-7720, ext. 1484
  • Allergy Testing & Shots is 704-393-7720, ext. 1484
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Charlotte, NC28208
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5800 Old Pineville Road
Charlotte, NC 28217

800 Clanton Road, Suites M and J
Charlotte, NC 28217

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2120 Dr. Webber Avenue,
Charlotte, NC 28216

Main Phone:
866-299-4968

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980-677-0294
980-335-0503

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