Diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes means that your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. Glucose comes from the food we eat. An organ called the pancreas (PAN-kree-as) makes insulin (IN-suh-lin). Insulin helps glucose get from your blood into your cells. Cells take the glucose and turn it into energy.

When you have diabetes, your body has a problem making or properly using insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in your blood and
cannot get into your cells. If the blood glucose stays too high, it can damage your body.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Having to urinate often.
  • Being very thirsty.
  • Feeling very hungry or tired.
  • Losing weight without trying.

But many people with diabetes have no symptoms at all.

Why should I be concerned about diabetes?

Diabetes is a very serious disease. Do not be misled by phrases that suggest diabetes is not a serious disease, such as “a touch of sugar,” “borderline diabetes,” or “my blood glucose is a little bit high.”

Diabetes can lead to other serious health problems. When high levels of glucose in the blood are not controlled, they can slowly
damage your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and feet.

What are the types of diabetes?

There are three main types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

In this type of diabetes, the body does not make insulin. People with type
1 diabetes need to take insulin every day.

Type 2 diabetes

In this type of diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin or use insulin well. Some people with type 2 diabetes have to take diabetes pills, insulin, or both. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes—
This
type
of diabetes can
occur when a woman
is pregnant. It raises the
risk that both she and
her child might develop
diabetes later in life.
3
Good news!
You can control diabetes.
Diabetes can be
managed.
You ca
n successfully manage
diabetes and avoid the
serious health problems it
can cause if you follow these
steps:
• Ask your doctor how you can learn more about your diabetes to help you feel better today and in the future.
• Make healthy food choices and be physically active most days.
Following this advice will
help you keep off extra
pounds and will also help
keep your blood glucose
under control.
• Check your blood glucose
as your doctor tells you to.
• If you are taking diabetes
medications,
take
them
even if you feel well.
• To avo
id problems with
your diabetes, see your
h
ealth care team at least
twice a year. Finding and
treating any problems
early will prevent them
from getting worse. Ask
how diabetes can affect
your eyes, heart, kidneys,
nerves, legs, and feet.
• Be actively involved in
your di
abetes care. Work
with your health care
team to come up with a
plan for making healthy
food choices and being
active—a plan that you
can stick to.
Creating a healthy meal plan.

This recipe booklet is a place
to start
creating healthy
meals. Ask your doctor to
refer you to a registered
dietitian or a diabetes
educator who can help you
create a meal plan for you
and your family. The dietitian
will work with you to come
up with a meal plan tailored
to your needs. Your meal
plan will take into account
things like:
• Your blood glucose levels.
• Your weight.
• Medicines you take.

Other health problems
you have.

How physically
active
you
are.
Making healthy food choices.
• Eat smaller
portions.
Learn
what
a serving
size
is for
different foods and how
many
servings
you
need
in a meal.
• Eat less fat. Choose fewer
high-fat
foods
and
use
less
fat for
cooking.
You
especially
want
to limit
foods
that
are
high
in
saturated fats or
trans
fat,
such as:
Fatty cuts of meat.
Whole
milk
and
dairy
products made from
whole milk.
Cakes,
candy,
coo
kies,
crackers, and pies.
Salad
dressings.
Lard, shortening,
stick
margarine, and non­
dairy
creamers.

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic