What is Diabetes?

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Did you know that 10% of the American population has diabetes? According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million Americans have type 2 diabetes and more than 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes.

The food we eat – particularly sweets and carbohydrates – convert into glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. People with diabetes have a problem either with insulin production or how their body responds to insulin. The glucose stays in the blood instead of being stored in the body for energy, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Many people don’t realize there is a big difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Our specialists weigh in on the two types of diabetes – and if anything can be done to prevent diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. It can occur in both children and adults. Type 1 diabetes occurs when a patient’s immune system is triggered and it begins to attack itself. As a result, the immune system makes antibodies that target the insulin-making cells in the pancreas.

When those insulin-making cells are destroyed, the body doesn’t have enough natural insulin to keep the blood sugars stabilized. Type 1 diabetics must manage their diabetes with insulin therapy.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is diagnosed in both children and adults. Type 2 diabetes starts with insulin resistance, meaning your body doesn’t utilize insulin properly. When the body can’t respond appropriately to the insulin that the pancreas creates, blood sugars begin to rise, causing type 2 diabetes. Some patients with type 1 diabetes can manage their disease with lifestyle changes, while other patients will need to start insulin therapy.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes can include:

  • Overweight
  • Inactivity
  • Family history
  • Age (higher risk for 45 and older)
  • Race

“The best way to reduce your risk factors for type 2 diabetes is to have an active lifestyle, maintain a healthy body weight and stick to a healthy diet,” says Dr. Linda Hermiller, an endocrinologist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Prediabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 85 million Americans have prediabetes, which means that their glucose levels are higher than normal but not classified as diabetic yet. Prediabetes is a serious health condition that also increases your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

A prediabetic patient can either delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes by making diet and lifestyle changes. Create a targeted action plan to help reduce or eliminate your prediabetic risk.

Want to learn more about diabetes? Our team is here.

At the St. Elizabeth Physicians Regional Diabetes Center, we offer diabetics and patients with endocrine disorders access to comprehensive, coordinated care in one convenient location. Call (859) 655-89100 to schedule an appointment to address your diabetes, prediabetes or endocrine disorder. For more information about diabetes,  please visit stedocs.com/diabetes.

The St. Elizabeth Physicians Regional Diabetes Center is the only comprehensive center in Greater Cincinnati that treats all types of endocrine disorders.