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Most people have heard of diabetes.  You might even know someone who has the disease.  What you might not know is that more than eight million of these diabetics do not even know they have it.

Diabetes develops when the pancreas does not make enough insulin (a hormone that helps sugar get into the cells of the body) or the body cannot use its own insulin as well as it should.  This causes sugars to build up in the blood and can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, lower-extremity amputations and even death.  Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.  It mainly occurs in two forms:

  1. Type 1 diabetes develops when the pancreas makes little to no insulin.  This form of diabetes was once called juvenile diabetes.  It is usually diagnosed in children, teenagers or young adults.
  2. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is resistant to the effects of insulin or the pancreas produces some, but not enough insulin. 

Two common symptoms of the disease are increased thirst and frequent urination.  Other warning signs include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Red, swollen, tender gums

If you have risk factors for diabetes and are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of the disease, see your doctor immediately.  A fasting blood glucose test, which measures your blood glucose after eight hours without eating, will probably be administered.  If the results are positive, a second test will most likely be run on a different day.  Do not assume your doctor will automatically test you for diabetes.  Doctors do not usually screen for diabetes during routine visits.

Diabetes can be managed by monitoring blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy lifestyle comprised of diet, exercise and a healthy weight.  Medications may also be used when these treatments are not sufficient.  Diabetics who follow these treatments can often lead relatively normal lives.  Those who remain undiagnosed run the risk of developing life-threatening diseases, disabilities and death.

Diabetes Self-Management Education 

The Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) program at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake offers monthly diabetes instruction classes to adults with Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. The goal of the program is to help people with diabetes learn about self-care so they will be able to better manage their condition.

Visit DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/DiabetesManagement to learn more.

Photo credit: iStock/Thinkstock

 

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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