Know Your Health Numbers
Diabetes sadly means we have an increased risk of health complications developing.
The development of complications is often linked with high blood glucose levels over a number of years in combination with high blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.
It is estimated that around 35,000 deaths a year in the UK can be attributable to diabetes about 1 in 20 of all deaths. It is advisable to understand the part that blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol plays and take note of what the health targets for each of these are.
Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss
Yes, its possible for diabetes to cause hair loss. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to persistently high blood glucose levels. This, in turn, leads to blood vessel damage and restricted flow, and oxygen and nutrients cant get to the cells that need it including hair follicles. Stress can cause hormone level changes that affect hair growth. If you have Type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks itself and can also cause a hair loss condition called alopecia areata.
Testing For Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
If diabetes is confirmed by the results of a blood test the type of diabetes you have is usually determined by factors like weight , age at diagnosis, family history and how quickly any symptoms came on.
The test results can also indicate if you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes even if you dont have it now.
If youre being tested for type 1 diabetes then further blood tests can check your blood ketone levels. Following this you may be sent to hospital for further assessment.
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What Insulin Medications Are Approved To Treat Diabetes
There are many types of insulins for diabetes. If you need insulin, you healthcare team will discuss the different types and if they are to be combined with oral medications. To follow is a brief review of insulin types.
- Rapid-acting insulins: These insulins are taken 15 minutes before meals, they peak at one hour and work for another two to four hours. Examples include insulin glulisine , insulin lispro and insulin aspart .
- Short-acting insulins: These insulins take about 30 minutes to reach your bloodstream, reach their peak effects in two to three hours and last for three to six hours. An example is insulin regular .
- Intermediate-acting insulins: These insulins reach your bloodstream in two to four hours, peak in four to 12 hours and work for up to 18 hours. An example in NPH.
- Long-acting insulins: These insulins work to keep your blood sugar stable all day. Usually, these insulins last for about 18 hours. Examples include insulin glargine , insulin detemir and insulin degludec .
There are insulins that are a combination of different insulins. There are also insulins that are combined with a GLP-1 receptor agonist medication .
Who Should Be Tested For Diabetes
Anyone who has symptoms of diabetes should be tested for the disease. Some people will not have any symptoms but may have risk factors for type 2 diabetes and need to be tested. Most pregnant women should also be tested for gestational diabetes. Testing helps doctors find diabetes sooner, so they can work with their patients to manage the disease and prevent health problems.
If you have Medicare, it may cover the cost of tests if you have certain risk factors for diabetes. If you have different insurance, ask your insurance company if it covers diabetes tests.
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How Is Diabetes Managed
Diabetes affects your whole body. To best manage diabetes, youll need to take steps to keep your risk factors under control and within the normal range, including:
- Keep your blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible by following a diet plan, taking prescribed medication and increasing your activity level.
- Maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels as near the normal ranges as possible.
- Control your blood pressure. Your blood pressure should not be over 140/90 mmHg.
You hold the keys to managing your diabetes by:
- Planning what you eat and following a healthy meal plan. Follow a Mediterranean diet or Dash diet. These diets are high in nutrition and fiber and low in fats and calories. See a registered dietitian for help understanding nutrition and meal planning.
- Exercising regularly. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Walk, swim or find some activity you enjoy.
- Achieving a healthy weight. Work with your healthcare team to develop a weight-loss plan.
- Taking medication and insulin, if prescribed, and closely following recommendations on how and when to take it.
- Quitting smoking .
You have a lot of control on a day-to-day basis in managing your diabetes!
Test Your Blood Sugar
That’s the way you’ll find out how food, exercise, and medicine affect your glucose level so you get better at controlling your diabetes. Not testing is like never stepping on a scale when you’re trying to lose weight.
You need some tools: a blood sugar meter, lancets , and test strips. Talk to your CDE about how to get these supplies and how to use them.
Your doctor will let you know what your target blood sugar range should be and when to check. At first, you might do it a couple of times a day after meals.
Keep a log of your numbers and show them to your doctor at your next visit.
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Are There Other Treatment Options For Diabetes
Yes. There are two types of transplantations that might be an option for a select number of patients who have Type 1 diabetes. A pancreas transplant is possible. However, getting an organ transplant requires taking immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of your life and dealing with the side effects of these drugs. However, if the transplant is successful, youll likely be able to stop taking insulin.
Another type of transplant is a pancreatic islet transplant. In this transplant, clusters of islet cells are transplanted from an organ donor into your pancreas to replace those that have been destroyed.
Another treatment under research for Type 1 diabetes is immunotherapy. Since Type 1 is an immune system disease, immunotherapy holds promise as a way to use medication to turn off the parts of the immune system that cause Type 1 disease.
Bariatric surgery is another treatment option thats an indirect treatment for diabetes. Bariatric surgery is an option if you have Type 2 diabetes, have obesity and considered a good candidate for this type of surgery. Much improved blood glucose levels are seen in people who have lost a significant amount of weight.
Of course other medications are prescribed to treat any existing health problems that contribute to increasing your risk of developing diabetes. These conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other heart-related diseases.
Getting Started With Type 2
To use glucose as energy, your body needs insulin. But with type 2 diabetes, your body doesnt make enough insulin or doesnt use it welland your bodys cells cant use glucose for the energy it needs. When glucose stays in your blood, it can cause serious problems.
While there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, there are ways to manage your conditionthrough a balanced diet, an active lifestyle and medicine.
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Does Eating Sugary Foods Cause Diabetes
Sugar itself doesn’t directly cause diabetes. Eating foods high in sugar content can lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Eating more sugar than recommended American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons a day for women and nine teaspoons for men leads to all kinds of health harms in addition to weight gain.
These health harms are all risk factors for the development of diabetes or can worsen complications. Weight gain can:
- Raise blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Cause fat buildup in your liver.
- Cause tooth decay.
What Happens After The Diagnosis
Usually, the following things happen after your diagnosis:
A free education course for type 2 diabetes can help you manage your condition.
Page last reviewed: 18 August 2020 Next review due: 18 August 2023
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High And Low Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels change often during the day. Youll need to notice if your blood sugar drops too low and be prepared to treat it right away.
If your blood sugar spikes very high and your insulin is low, you can develop diabetic ketoacidosis , a serious complication of diabetes that can be life-threatening. Youll need medical care immediately if you develop DKA.
Your health care team will let you know how to identify and treat high and low blood sugar and related health problems. Be sure to get in touch with your doctor or diabetes educator if you have any questions.
How Does Diabetes Affect Your Heart Eyes Feet Nerves And Kidneys
Blood vessels are located throughout our bodys tissues and organs. They surround our bodys cells, providing a transfer of oxygen, nutrients and other substances, using blood as the exchange vehicle. In simple terms, diabetes doesnt allow glucose to get into cells and it damages blood vessels in/near these organs and those that nourish nerves. If organs, nerves and tissues cant get the essentials they need to properly function, they can begin to fail.Proper function means that your hearts blood vessels, including arteries, are not damaged . In your kidneys, this means that waste products can be filtered out of your blood. In your eyes, this means that the blood vessels in your retina remain intact. In your feet and nerves, this means that nerves are nourished and that theres blood flow to your feet. Diabetes causes damage that prevents proper function.
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How Managing Blood Sugar Helps Now
Keeping your blood sugar levels on target can help you avoid serious health problems like heart disease and nerve damage down the road. But did you know avoiding ups and downs in blood sugar can help you feel better right away?
Steady blood sugar levels can help you have more energy, better sleep, an easier-to-manage appetite, better focus, and stable moods. If youre having trouble meeting your target, talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about making changes to your treatment plan so you can stay in range longer and feel better.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
The oral glucose tolerance test helps doctors detect type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. However, the OGTT is a more expensive test than the FPG test and the glucose challenge test, and it is not as easy to give.
Before the test, you will need to fast for at least 8 hours. A health care professional will take a blood sample to measure your glucose level after fasting. Next, you will drink a liquid that is high in sugar. Another blood sample is taken 2 hours later to check your blood glucose level. If your blood glucose level is high, you may have diabetes.
If you are pregnant, your blood will be drawn every hour for 2 to 3 hours. If your blood glucose levels are high two or more times during the OGTT, you may have gestational diabetes.
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Diabetes And Your Child
For a parent whose child is diagnosed with a life-long condition, the job of parenting becomes even tougher.
Although being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will involve coming to terms with the diagnosis, getting used to treatment and making changes to everyday life, your child can still lead a normal and healthy life.
The Diabetes UK website has information and advice about your child and diabetes.
Are There Complications Of Diabetes
Diabetes is a complex disease that can affect your whole body. Some complications of diabetes include:
- Heart disease and stroke: people with diabetes are up to 4 times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.
- High blood pressure: people with diabetes may develop high blood pressure due to changes to their body chemistry.
- Foot problems: having diabetes increases your risk of foot and leg ulcers and amputations see a podiatrist regularly. FootForward is a program designed to help people with diabetes understand the importance of getting their feet checked.
- Vision problems: diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia you can register for eye check reminders at KeepSight Australia.
- Kidney disease: kidney failure is 3 times more common in people with diabetes.
Diabetes can have a big impact on mental health as well more than 3 in 10 people with diabetes experience depression, anxiety and distress.
There are many ways you can reduce your risk of complications. Talk to your doctor or a diabetes educator about how to look after yourself to minimise or even prevent diabetes complications.
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What Should I Expect If I Have Been Diagnosed With Diabetes
If you have diabetes, the most important thing you can do is keep your blood glucose level within the target range recommended by your healthcare provider. In general, these targets are:
- Before a meal: between 80 and 130 mg/dL.
- About two hours after the start of a meal: less than 180 mg/dL.
You will need to closely follow a treatment plan, which will likely include following a customized diet plan, exercising 30 minutes five times a week, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Always take your medications and insulin as instructed by your provider.
How To Diagnose Prediabetes
Studies have shown that up to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. At a time when one in three U.S. adults has prediabetes, its important to identify which of your patients have this condition to help them get the interventions they need right away. Learn the ways to identify patients with prediabetes in your practice.
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How Is Diabetes Diagnosed
Diabetes is diagnosed and managed by checking your glucose level in a blood test. There are three tests that can measure your blood glucose level: fasting glucose test, random glucose test and A1c test.
- Fasting plasma glucose test: This test is best done in the morning after an eight hour fast .
- Random plasma glucose test: This test can be done any time without the need to fast.
- A1c test: This test, also called HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin test, provides your average blood glucose level over the past two to three months. This test measures the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen. You dont need to fast before this test.
- Oral glucose tolerance test: In this test, blood glucose level is first measured after an overnight fast. Then you drink a sugary drink. Your blood glucose level is then checked at hours one, two and three.
|Type of test|
How Do You Get Diagnosed With Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the symptoms are often overlooked because the main symptoms are a bit vague.
As you can see, these could easily be overlooked.
So how do you get diagnosed with diabetes?
In order to get diagnosed with diabetes you have to have a blood test to check blood sugar levels.The doctor may then order an a1c test or an oral glucouse tolerance test . Something doctors dont often test are your insulin levels, Ill talk more about this below.
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Tests For Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Youll probably be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your risk is higher for getting gestational diabetes , your doctor may test you earlier. Blood sugar thats higher than normal early in your pregnancy may indicate you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes rather than gestational diabetes.
What To Do Following A Diagnosis
An effective, evidence-based ways to reduce diabetes risk is to participate in a diabetes prevention program recognized by the CDC. Such programs emphasize healthy eating and increased physical activity, and they can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by more than one-half.
The AMA and the CDC jointly offer an easy way for care teams to access practical resources: Prevent Diabetes STAT: Screen, Test, ActToday. This initiative can help you and your team take three simple steps to improve the health of your patients:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it soon will begin covering diabetes prevention programs for Medicare beneficiaries, making this lifestyle intervention accessible to even more people.
*These BMI levels reflect eligibility for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, as noted in the CDC Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program Standards and Operating Procedures. The ADA encourages screening for diabetes at a BMI of 23 kg/m2 for Asian Americans and 25 kg/m2 for non-Asian Americans, and some programs may use the ADA screening criteria for program eligibility. Please check with your diabetes prevention program provider for their specific BMI eligibility requirements.
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