Diabetes FAQ

Q: Is there a cure for diabetes?
A: No. The more successful you are at keeping your blood sugar level within the normal range, the more normal your life will be. High blood sugar levels are responsible for many of the complications of diabetes and a lot of work is being done to find a cure that's suitable for use.

Q: What are the symptoms of diabetes?
A: The most common symptoms are frequent urination, blurred vision, wounds that don't heal, frequent infections, increased thirst, and chronic fatigue. If you have these symptoms or a family history of diabetes, see your doctor for a blood test.

Q: How do I know if I'm at risk for developing diabetes?
A: The factors that contribute to patients being at risk for diabetes are a family history of diabetes, being overweight or obese, and inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle.

Q:  What is Type 1 diabetes?
A: Type 1 diabetes (about 10 percent of people with diabetes) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.

Q:  What is Type 2 diabetes?
A: Type 2 diabetes (about 80 to 90 percent of persons with diabetes) is a progressive chronic disease that affects insulin production and utilization. Generally, individuals who have Type 2 diabetes still produce insulin, though not as efficiently.
 
Q: What diabetes treatment options are available?
A: At present there are three (3) main options for treating diabetes. 

  1. Lifestyle modification - This includes dietary changes and exercise. 
  2. Insulin injections. 
  3. Diabetic pills

Q: What is insulin, and how does it affect blood sugar levels?
A: Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin allows sugar to move from the blood stream into the cells of the body where glucose is used for energy. Insulin helps to maintain a balance of sugar in the blood. If there is little or no insulin available, as in Type 1 diabetes, or if it does not work normally, as in Type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels increase. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels can damage different organs in the body, resulting in medical complications.

Q: Is it true that only kids get Type 1 diabetes and only adults get Type 2 diabetes?
A: Commonly Type 1 diabetes manifests in childhood and teenage years, though it can occur at anytime of the life cycle. Type 2 diabetes previously was called adult-onset diabetes. We are now seeing Type 2 manifesting at all ages, even in children.
 
Q: What are the medical complications associated with diabetes
A: Complications associated with diabetes include increased risk for heart disease and stroke, damage to small blood vessels of the eyes and kidneys, and damage to the nervous system.

Q: How often should I see my doctor?
A: Persons with diabetes should see their healthcare provider regularly, every 3 to 6 months. Patients are monitored for blood sugar and blood pressure control and evaluated and/or treated for underlying cardiovascular disease. Exams or tests done annually include dilated eye exam, foot exam, blood cholesterol, and urinalysis to monitor for kidney changes.
 
Q: What is the relationship between diabetes and heart disease or stroke?
A: Heart attacks and strokes are the leading causes of diabetes-related deaths. Both result from an underlying disease of the arteries. The good news is that by following a heart healthy lifestyle, the risk for heart attack and stroke can be significantly decreased. Not using tobacco, getting regular exercise, maintaining healthy eating habits and a healthy weight, and keeping your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels within target ranges are all important lifestyle factors that significantly reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.
 
Q: What is the relationship between obesity and diabetes?
A: There is a strong relationship between diabetes and obesity. Research shows that overweight or obese individuals are at elevated risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Obesity causes insulin resistance, which means that the insulin produced in the pancreas is not being used efficiently and the insulin cannot help glucose enter the cells. Blood sugar levels then remain elevated. Moderate weight loss decreases insulin resistance and increases insulin sensitivity.