Diabetes Agent > Common Concerns & Issues about Diabetes

Coping with Diagnosis - Diabetes Agent

You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. You might have been expecting the diagnosis, or it might have come out of left field. Someone in your family might have diabetes, or this might be the first time you’ve ever thought about diabetes.

You might be filled with strong emotions: anger, shame, guilt, sadness, denial. You might even be relieved that you have an explanation for the way that you’ve been feeling.

Whatever the case, you have entered a new phase of your life that will bring new challenges and rewards, and you probably have many questions: Why did this have to happen to me? How did I get diabetes? How will I afford treatment? What next?

Explore other people’s techniques for coping with a diabetes diagnosis through these videos and content.


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Videos

Sarah Coping with Diagnosis

Sarah H. discusses being previously healthy and mourning the loss of her life as she knew it before.

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Carlos Coping with Diagnosis

Carlos discusses the myriad factors that could have contributed to his diabetes.

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Zac Coping with Diagnosis

Zac tells the story of his diagnosis and learning to keep daily track of his diabetes.

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Jessica Coping with Diagnosis

Jessica tells the story of being diagnosed at six years old.

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Amber Coping with Diagnosis

Amber talks about learning the basics of diabetes care and adjusting to her new condition.

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Donald Coping with Diagnosis

Donald tells the story of his diagnosis, and how he was slow to go to the doctor.

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Gene Coping with Diagnosis

Gene discusses how he made an impact on his diabetes with lifestyle changes alone.

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Elizabeth Coping with Diagnosis

Elizabeth tells the story about partnering with her doctor and getting second opinions.

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Priscilla Coping with Diagnosis

Pricilla struggles with not being a ‘regular person’.

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Dave Coping with Diagnosis

Dave talks about the self-destructive downward spiral after his diagnosis.

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Luke Coping with Diagnosis

Luke talks about the sudden and confusing nature of his diagnosis at a young age.

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Tools & Resources

When to Check Blood Sugar

Blood glucose monitoring is a way of life for the diabetic. When you are first diagnosed, it is very important that you get a glucometer as soon as possible. How often should I check? At first, pretty much all the time. The only way to come to grips with your diabetes is to learn, as […]

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I have type 1 diabetes and need help finding life insurance.

People with T1D may encounter difficulties obtaining life insurance. It may be necessary to do some individual research to find a company that will provide you with a policy. While JDRF does not keep lists of companies that offer life insurance to people with type 1 diabetes, we can offer some direction to help you […]

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How long will my child have type 1 diabetes? Can you outgrow it?

At this point, type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease, meaning you never outgrow it. However, JDRF is doing everything in its power to find a cure and also produce treatments that improve people’s lives as soon as possible. We were founded in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, who made a […]

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I have type 2 diabetes. What are my own numbers that I should be aware of?

Know your ABCs. Focus on the numbers that can affect your health. To reduce diabetes complications, such as heart attacks and strokes, the American Diabetes Association recommends the following: A1C: A three-month blood glucose average test that can monitor development and progression of eye, kidney and nerve damage. Target: less than 7 percent. Blood pressure: […]

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Is type 2 diabetes curable or reversible?

At this point in time, there is no known cure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. While symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be well controlled with diet and exercise in some people with type 2 diabetes, they continue to have the disease even if their blood glucose levels remain within target ranges.

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I really hate to exercise. What are some ways to manage my diabetes without exercise?

I wish I could tell you otherwise, but exercise is vital to managing your diabetes and staying healthy. There’s no way around it – but it doesn’t have to be torture! One way to sustain momentum is to make sure there’s enough pleasure in your life while you take the time and effort to build […]

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How is diabetic retinopathy detected?

If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes examined at least once a year. Your eyes should be dilated during the exam, which means eyedrops are used to enlarge your pupils. This dilation allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for signs of the disease.

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Is type 1 diabetes hereditary?

Researchers are still trying to get a clear picture about how genes and environmental factors interact to determine a person’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Forty percent of everyone in the United States carries one or more of the HLA genes (human leukocyte antigen) which lead to increased risk of type 1 diabetes. To […]

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Chicken or Egg?

Which came first, the extra weight or the Type 2 Diabetes? There is a prevailing opinion that fat people get Type 2 Diabetes *because* they are fat. At the same time, there’s plenty of evidence that Type 2 Diabetes is an inherited genetic disorder of the metabolic system that is progressive. Why is it so […]

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What foods should a person with type 1 diabetes eat/avoid?

People with type 1 diabetes should discuss their individual dietary needs with their doctor. Individualized meal planning is an integral part of every diabetes care plan. The key to every plan is balancing diet, exercise, and insulin intake to achieve blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. It’s important that anyone new to […]

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What kind of doctor should treat my diabetes?

There’s no definitive answer to that question. You can find diabetes care providers that are family and/or general practitioners, endocrinologists (doctors that specialize in diabetes and other hormone-based disorders), osteopaths, and internal medicine specialists. Many people prefer to see an endocrinologist that specializes in diabetes care; however, factors such as bedside manner, communication, and diabetes […]

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Diabetic Frozen Shoulder

A little known complication of diabetes is a condition called Frozen Shoulder (medical name: adhesive capsulitis.) Frozen shoulder is a condition in which adhesions in your body’s joints (typically the shoulder) cause severe pain and restrictive movement. Prior to my diagnosis, I spent several years with limited range of motion in my shoulder and a […]

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How do I find out if I have diabetes?

The ADA suggests everyone over the age of 45—and anyone overweight—get screened for type 2. The most common test is the fasting blood glucose test. After not eating for eight hours, you get your blood sugar checked. If your glucose level is 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher, you have diabetes, according to the […]

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I need financial assistance for type 1 diabetes supplies and/or healthcare.

There are pharmaceutical assistance programs offered directly by some drug companies for people with type 1 diabetes who have little or no insurance to help offset the cost of supplies or prescription medications. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (888-477-2669) offers a point of access to hundreds of assistance programs that have joined together to provide […]

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What do I need to know about type 1 diabetes in school?

School presents a host of challenging issues for children with T1D, and it’s important to know how to work with the school to ensure the best care for your child. JDRF’s School Advisory Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for parents, teachers, nurses, and everyone who provides care for a child with type 1 diabetes in […]

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How does my blood sugar affect my mood?

Studies have shown a relationship to chocolate and mood. There is a chemical in chocolate that stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, creating feelings of well-being and calm. So, how does this relate to diabetes? Well, fluctuations in blood sugars or sugars that are out of range can contribute to unexplained mood swings, […]

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Diabetes Medical Alerts

Without question, Type 1 Diabetics should wear some sort of medical alert bracelet or necklace at all times. Type 2′s on insulin should as well. The dangers of going low, or hypo, are just too great and you see news stories all the time of hypo diabetics being confused for a drunk and not given […]

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How does smoking affect my diabetes?

It is commonly known that smoking has many negative effects on the body, including, but not limited to: lung disease, premature infant births with low body weight, damage to the circulatory system, high blood pressure, and cancers of the mouth and respiratory tract. Effects on the circulatory system include constriction of the blood vessels in […]

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Is there a particular kind of diet that can help fight diabetes?

Generally, you should avoid fad diets and steer yourself instead toward eating well-balanced meals, which include fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lower-fat meats and healthy fats.

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My doctor is starting me on medication. Is that all I have to do to control my diabetes?

No. Medication helps, but if you have diabetes you still need to manage your food intake to create a balance between medication, food, and activity. You also need to test your blood sugar level one or more times a day to ensure your treatment plan is working. Diabetes is a self-managed disease. In other words, […]

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So I have diabetes. It’s not a big deal. After all, there’s medicine to treat it now.

Would you say the same thing about asthma? Epilepsy? Osteoporosis? No! Like these conditions, diabetes is a chronic disease that you will have for the rest of your life. How you choose to treat your diabetes (or not) has a vital impact on how long that life will be. While there are medications to help […]

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What are some of the problems I might experience and what I should do about them?

Typical symptoms of high blood sugar include extreme thirst, frequent urination, and feeling tired all the time. You might also have dry, itchy skin or blurred vision. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should be tested at your annual physical. Sometimes, catching blood sugar elevations in the early stages can give you […]

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I’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes and I was too embarrassed to ask my doctor to really explain what this disease is. Can you tell me more about the disease?

If you have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes your pancreas is not able to produce the hormone, insulin, which is needed to control your blood sugar. You’ll need to take insulin every day. Currently, insulin is only given by injection. You’ll also need to follow a meal plan, exercise and test your blood sugar.

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Is a cure for diabetes on the horizon?

Though there is currently no cure for diabetes, a great deal of research is being performed all over the world. For now, the medical community is emphasizing the need to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in people by emphasizing good nutrition, physical activity and healthy weight.

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What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body digests and uses food. It means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. What does that mean? Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the kind of sugar that circulates in our blood. Glucose is the main source of […]

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Now that I have diabetes, do I need to change the shoes I wear?

Amputation and foot ulceration are the most common consequences of diabetic neuropathy, and major causes of morbidity and disability in people with diabetes. With regards to diabetic products, it is advisable to wear well-fitted walking shoes or athletic shoes. The goal is to avoid shoes that pinch or rub or place undue pressure on any […]

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Where can I find health insurance for myself or my child with type 1 diabetes?

The federal government’s new site, Healthcare.gov, has information about health insurance options as well as an easy-to-use guide to help you find out which private insurance plans, public programs and community services are available to you. Also, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has a publication entitled “Financial Help for […]

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I have type 2 diabetes, and just started insulin. Does that mean I’m type 1 now?

No. Many people with type 2 diabetes who can’t adequately control their blood glucose levels with diet, exercise, or oral medications go on insulin. The type of diabetes you have is defined by the cause, not the treatment. People with type 1 diabetes have experienced beta cell destruction and make insufficient insulin to control their […]

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I had gestational diabetes. How soon after having the baby should I get my blood glucose rechecked?

About 6-8 weeks after delivery. Like 90% of the women with gestational diabetes, your BG levels will probably return to normal right after your baby is born. However, you still run the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, prior studies have shown women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk (of up […]

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Where can I get a medical ID for my child?

A number of companies make medical alert IDs and products specifically marketed toward children with type 1 diabetes. The Children with Diabetes website has a comprehensive listing of medical ID products.

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HbA1c: Diabetic Blood Test

If you’ve been diagnosed as a diabetic you are, or soon will be, quite familiar with a blood test called the HbA1c, or A1c for short. The HbA1c test is used to monitor your diabetes. It is an average of your blood glucose levels over time and gives you a good idea of how well […]

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Who is most likely to get diabetic retinopathy?

Anyone with diabetes. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get diabetic retinopathy. Between 40-45 percent of those with diagnosed diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.

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How do I find a support group near where I live that can help me learn to manage my disease?

Many hospitals offer diabetes support groups, which are good sources of diabetes information. Check your local newspaper, hospital or health department for support group locations and meeting dates. Endocrinologists (physicians who specialize in diabetes) may also offer support groups that are open to all type 2 diabetes patients. Check the yellow pages for “Endocrinologists” and […]

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What is pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is when your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes as effectively. As a result, your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered clearly diabetic. Note: a person has pre-diabetes when their blood sugar is borderline high, and may have […]

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5 Things I Wish I Had Known When Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

My diagnosis as a Type 2 diabetic caught me completely by surprise. I knew almost nothing about it and had to get up to speed on the disease, fast. Here’s a quick list of a few things I wish I had known immediately after getting off the phone with my doctor: Am I going to […]

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I’ve seen sugar-free foods in the grocery store. Does that mean I can eat as much of those foods as I want?

There are many products that are sold as being “sugar-free,” “reduced sugar,” “light,” “no sugar added,” and so forth. These labels can be confusing and sometimes misleading. While the amount of sugar in a product might be lower, it’s important to remember that sugar is only one type of carbohydrate, and all carbohydrates affect your […]

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What is the “honeymoon phase”?

In a person who has type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed by immune cells. However, right after the time of diagnosis, some patients go through a “honeymoon phase” in which their existing beta cells still function. A number of research projects are currently taking place which hope to preserve […]

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What is the most common eye disease for people with diabetes?

Diabetic retinopathy. This disease is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, retinal blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. These changes […]

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What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

There are often no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. There is no pain and vision may not change until the disease becomes severe. Blurred vision may occur when the macula (the part of the retina that provides sharp, central vision) swells from the leaking fluid. This condition is called macular edema. If […]

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What should my A1C (Hemoglobin A1C) be while I am pregnant?

An A1C (Hemoglobin A1C) is a blood test that can predict average blood glucose levels for about 8-12 weeks. People without diabetes generally have an A1C of less than 6%, though this usually drops to less than 5% during pregnancy. Women with diabetes should strive for “near normal” A1Cs prior to, as well as during, […]

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Could I have pre-diabetes and not know it?

Yes, it’s possible. 79 million people in the United States (including 50% of all adults over 65 years of age) have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is when your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes as effectively. As a result, your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet […]

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What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease that affects people with diabetes (glaucoma and cataracts are also common) and is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. The damage to the blood vessels in the retina caused by retinopathy can result in vision loss or blindness. The disease causes new blood vessels to […]

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But there’s medicine to treat diabetes now. So is it really that big a deal if you get it?

It is a big deal if you get any chronic disease. In fact, with diabetes medication is not the answer or the sole treatment. Those with diabetes still must eat healthfully, test their blood sugar regularly and exercise.

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Can women with diabetes breastfeed their babies?

Unless your health care team advises you otherwise, yes. Breast milk provides the best nutrition for babies and breastfeeding is recommended for all mothers with either preexisting diabetes or gestational diabetes.

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Diabetes and Sex: What’s the 411?

Good, juicy question! First, the good news: many, many people with diabetes enjoy a healthy sex life with their partners, despite the challenges caused by the disease. Like any other complication, sexual issues require awareness, communication with your doctor, and a good plan to lower their incidence. Sex is an important part of life and […]

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Can diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?

Up to 75% of men with diabetes experience some type of difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. Erection is a cooperative effort between nerves and blood vessels. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to nerves (peripheral neuropathy) and blood vessels, impairing their ability to work together. The key to managing erectile dysfunction related to diabetes is […]

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Now that I have diabetes, do I cut all sugar out of my diet?

Eating right with diabetes is more about moderation and healthy food choices then severe dietary restriction. While you do need to manage your intake of all carbohydrates (i.e., starchy vegetables and grains and cereals as well as sugar), people with diabetes can occasionally enjoy foods containing sugar as part of their overall daily meal plan. […]

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My friend says she has pre-diabetes. What’s that? Is she doomed to get full-blown diabetes?

Pre-diabetes means that your blood sugar is not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. However, if those with pre-diabetes fail to make lifestyle changes, they are at increased risk of developing “full-blown” or Type 2 diabetes.

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What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes (T1D)?

The symptoms may occur suddenly, and include one or more of the following: Extreme thirst Frequent urination Drowsiness, lethargy Sugar in urine Sudden vision changes Increased appetite Sudden weight loss Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath Heavy, labored breathing Stupor, unconsciousness If you think you or your child has diabetes, call a doctor immediately, […]

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What is the treatment for prediabetes?

Treatment consists of losing a modest amount of weight (5-10 percent of total body weight) through diet and moderate exercise, such as walking, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Don’t worry if you can’t get to your ideal body weight. A loss of just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. […]

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Who Develops Type 2 Diabetes?

Age, sex, weight, physical activity, diet, lifestyle, and family health history all affect someone’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes. The chances that someone will develop diabetes increase if the person’s parents or siblings have the disease. Experts now know that diabetes is more common in African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Native Hawaiians than […]

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I’ve been so thirsty lately and my friend said I might have diabetes. Could she be right?

Your friend’s hunch may be correct; increased thirst is one of the most common symptoms, along with frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision. Also, if you have an infection that takes a long time to clear up (especially bladder and vaginal infections in women) or dark patches on the folds of your skin, like the […]

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Is prediabetes the same as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose?

Yes. Doctors sometimes refer to this state of elevated blood glucose levels as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose (IGT/IFG), depending on which test was used to detect it.

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What are some of the symptoms of women’s sexual health issues related to diabetes?

Lack of interest in sex (libido), pain or discomfort during intercourse, and decreased production of vaginal lubrication, to name a few.

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Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Although Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are very different diseases, they share many of the same symptoms. The classic symptoms are: extreme thirst, frequent urination, extreme weight loss and fatigue. These can come on quite quickly in a type 1 diabetic, but can develop slowly in a type 2. The thirst and urination are […]

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Are there different types of diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes. In Type 1, an individual’s pancreas is not producing insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, the individual’s pancreas still produces insulin, but the cells are not using the insulin effectively. Another type of the disease, gestational diabetes, develops during pregnancy because of hormones that are secreted to maintain the […]

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What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

There is no simple answer to what causes type 2 diabetes. While eating sugar, for example, doesn’t cause diabetes, eating large amounts of sugar and other rich, fatty foods, can cause weight gain. Most people who develop diabetes are overweight. Scientists do not fully understand why obesity increases someone’s chances of developing diabetes, but they […]

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Once a diabetic, always a diabetic?

Someone living with diabetes can lose a bunch of weight, eat right, and get their numbers in control, and as such, they have no signs or symptoms of diabetes but, like everyone, they could slip right back into those bad numbers if they do not maintain their lifestyle and medication behaviors. For Type 1 diabetes, you […]

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Why take diabetes medications?

Many people, including those with diabetes, have chemical imbalances in their bodies that, if left untreated, will have a negative impact on their health and possibly the quality of their life. Fortunately, there are a wide range of medicines that are designed to restore these imbalances and, by doing so, promote health. People with diabetes […]

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What’s up with diabetes and my feet?

Diabetes often comes with other complications that affect your body’s ability to fight infections. Circulatory damage to your blood vessels means that less blood and oxygen is traveling to your feet. Nerve damage means that you might not be able to feel an injury or uncomfortable pressure on the skin of your foot. Together, this […]

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What is an insulin pump?

An insulin pump is a small electronic device that provides a continuous, low flow of insulin (called a basal rate) to the wearer via an infusion line. The end of the infusion line has a small needle called an insertion set that is pushed just under the surface of the skin. The user can program […]

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How did my child get type 1 diabetes? We have no family history.

Research has shown that at most, only 15 percent of people with type 1 diabetes have an affected first-degree relative – a sibling, parent, or offspring. Research suggests that genes account for less than half the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. These findings suggest that there may be environmental factors that influence the development […]

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What happens if I don’t manage my diabetes?

So, diabetes causes high blood glucose. Why is that such a bad thing? Glucose is fuel for our bodies, so more fuel available in the blood seems like it would be a good thing, right? Well, no. When there’s too much glucose circulating in the blood, it attaches to and damages the walls of all […]

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It’s difficult to eat right when I travel. Do you have any suggestions?

If you take oral medications and/or insulin, you should always carry a simple form of carbohydrate such as juice, glucose tablets, candy or regular soda in case of hypoglycemia. Maintaining a diabetic diet can be challenging, especially at airports, highway rest stops or food courts in shopping malls. Look for regular- or junior-sized meals or […]

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Fast Food Diabetic

As a Type 2 diabetic, you’re going to struggle with food choices pretty much non-stop. When you are first diagnosed, it feels like you can’t eat anything! Unless you are taking insulin, you’re going to have to watch what you eat closely. “Eating by your meter” is what a lot of Type 2′s call it. […]

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Are there different types of diabetes?

Yes! There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes – the body does not make any insulin. Insulin helps the body use glucose from food for energy. People with type 1 need to take insulin every day. Type 2 diabetes – the body does not make enough insulin or use what it does make well. […]

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News

Beyond Blood Sugar: Is it time to expand the focus of diabetes care?

What would you say is your health care provider’s main focus in treating you for diabetes? If you are like most diabetics in the United States, you probably answered something fairly close to “preventing complications by managing your blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and/or your blood pressure.”

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