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About Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that means your body does not make enough insulin. Or it means that your body is not able to use the insulin it makes. Your body needs the hormone insulin to change blood sugar (glucose) into energy. Without insulin, too much glucose collects in your blood. Diabetes may also be a result of other conditions. These include genetic syndromes, chemicals, medicines, pancreatitis, infections, and viruses.

Diabetes can be 1 of 3 types: type 1, type 2, or gestational. All 3 are metabolic disorders that affect the way the body uses (metabolizes) food to make glucose. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body. Other facts about diabetes can be found in the health library.

Symptoms

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • increased thirst and frequent urination (especially at night)
  • unexplained increase in appetite
  • unexplained weight loss
  • fatigue
  • erection problems
  • blurred vision
  • tingling, burning, or numbness in the hands or feet

Risk Factors

People who have diabetes are at increased risk for many serious health problems, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart problems, eye problems that can lead to blindness, circulation and nerve problems, and kidney disease and kidney failure.

Pregnant women with uncontrolled diabetes have an increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects.

Diabetes is treated with diet and lifestyle changes and with medicines (such as insulin or oral medicines). If blood sugar levels are kept within the recommended range, the risk for many complications from diabetes decreases.

Treatment

Specific treatment for diabetes will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider based on:

  • Type of diabetes
  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the disease
  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinion or preference
  • Cost

Test for Type 2 Diabetes

To find out if you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes take the Risk Test through the American Diabetes Association
11116 Medical Campus Road
Hagerstown, MD 21742
301-790-8000
TDD: 1-800-735-2258
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