Diabetes Fact Sheet
Diabetes is a condition
when the body cannot use foods correctly. Normally, food is digested and
broken down into a sugar called glucose that the body uses for
energy. When the glucose in the blood rises after eating, then a gland
called the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is
made by the pancreas and is very important. The insulin helps the glucose
go from the blood into the cells of the body for energy to use later.
A person with diabetes does not make enough insulin, or has insulin that
does not work as well as it should.
If a diabetic does
not get medical care, the amount of glucose in the blood rises above normal.
Then the cells of the body cannot use the important glucose for nourishment.
A. What is a normal
fasting level of blood glucose?
It is approximately
60 to 115 milligrams/100 milliliters.
B. What do hyperglycemia
and hypoglycemia mean?
a higher than normal blood glucose level.
a lower than normal blood glucose level.
C. Who is at risk
There are over 14,000,000
people with diabetes in the United States.
The high-risk populations
1 in every 5
Hispanic/Latino 1 in every 6
African American 1 in every 8-10
White/European decent 1 in every 12-15
D. What causes diabetes?
We do not know exactly
what causes diabetes. Factors that contribute to the risk of diabetes
- Heredity (family
- Obesity (being
- Pregnancy (gestational
- Physical stress
- Emotional stress
E. Are there different
kinds of diabetes?
There are three
types of diabetes:
1. Type I - Insulin
dependent diabetes: This usually happens between birth and age 18.
The pancreas produces little or no insulin and daily insulin injections
are needed. A good diet and exercise are important to maintain good
2. Type II - Non-insulin dependent diabetes: This usually happens
after age 40. Normally, the pancreas continues to produce insulin and
the person can treat the condition with a nutritious diet and regular
3. Gestational Diabetes: This sometimes happens in women during
pregnancy. There are possible complications for the mother and child
during labor and after the birth.
F. What are the symptoms
- Abnormal blood
glucose level: when the blood glucose level reaches 180 milligrams/100
urination (polyuria): because the body tries to get rid of excess
sugar.Water is taken from the tissue to make more urine.
thirst (polypidsia): because the body tries to replace the waste
that has been eliminated.
- Fatigue, weakness,
and weight loss:
because the body cannot use or store glucose for energy.
- Increase in
appetite (polyphagia): because
the body wants more energy in the form of food.
- Other symptoms
include: infections, slow healing, itching, numbness, pain or
tingling in hands or feet, changes in vision, vaginal infections,
G. If diabetes is ignored, can it lead to more serious problems?
You must talk with your doctor or health care provider to help you manage
this disease. It is also important to eat well and exercise regularly.
By doing these things, you can prevent or slow down the following complications:
- kidney failure
- amputations (due
to poor circulation)
- heart disease
- birth defects
- difficult labor
and birth for mother and child
- premature death
H. How can you control
Exercise can delay or prevent amputations of limbs and other diabetic
complications. A person with diabetes often has poor circulation. Exercise
can help improve circulation.
2. Well Balanced
Diet: A nutritious diet, low in sugar, helps stabilize the function
of the organs. A good diet consists of many fresh vegetables and fruits
and does not contain a lot of fat. The diabetic diet should also include
foods with these vitamins and minerals:
- vitamin B12 (Riboflavin)
helps with glucose metabolism. Diabetics have about half the manganese
found in people without diabetes. Foods rich in manganese:
helps release energy from food. It also preserves the integrity of the
nervous system, eyes and skin. It also seems to decrease the craving
for sugar. Foods rich in vitamin B12:
have been found in diabetics. Zinc is essential for making insulin.
Remember, insulin is the hormone responsible for maintaining normal
glucose levels in the body. Foods rich in zinc:
I. How can you
prevent serious diabetic complications?
1. Good hygiene
is an important method of prevention. It is very important to take care
of the feet.
Diabetics can have
more infections and poor circulation. This can cause serious infections
in the extremities like the hands and feet.
It is also very
important to take care of the teeth and gums. Diabetics should brush
their teeth several times a day with a soft toothbrush.
2. Regular eye
exams are also very important. Diabetics often have problems with
retinopathy. The retina of the eye leaks fluid or blood. This can damage
the eyesight and result in blindness.
60-80% of diabetics
that have suffered from diabetes for 15 or more years have retinopathy.
Many times, there are no early symptoms. No pain and no changes in vision
until the disease is at a severe level.
Other vision conditions
like glaucoma and cataracts can occur if the diabetic individual does
not get medical attention.
J. What other health
problems are related to diabetes?
Type II diabetics
have a higher risk of heart disease than non-diabetics.
- Male diabetics
have 2-3 times the rate of heart disease
- Female diabetics
have 3-7 times the rate of heart disease
K. Questions to ask
your health care provider:
How can Vitamin
A help improve the effects of retinopathy?
Why does Vitamin E appear to worsen diabetic eye disease?
L. Diabetes remedies
- Huereke - a root
taken twice a day, grows in the sierra and is sold around Camargo, Chihuahua.
People with Type II diabetes say this helps balance their glucose blood
- Tronadora - unknown
source and specific use
- Talbutamida - unknown
source and specific use