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Government Resources: Health, Disability, Safety, Nutrition and Fitness: Diabetes

DIABETES

Diabetes: General Information and Statistics

Diabetes: Place and Location

Diabetes: Death Rate

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes means your blood glucose (often called blood sugar) is too high. Your blood always has some glucose in it because your body needs glucose for energy to keep you going. But too much glucose in the blood isn't good for your health.

Glucose comes from the food you eat and is also made in your liver and muscles. Your blood carries the glucose to all of the cells in your body. Insulin is a chemical (a hormone) made by the pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood. Insulin helps the glucose from food get into your cells.

If your body does not make enough insulin or if the insulin doesn't work the way it should, glucose can't get into your cells. It stays in your blood instead. Your blood glucose level then gets too high, causing pre-diabetes or diabetes.

There are three main kinds of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. The result of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the same: glucose builds up in the blood, while the cells are starved of energy. Over the years, high blood glucose damages nerves and blood vessels, oftentimes leading to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems, gum infections, and amputation.

Source: Senior Health, NIH

Diabetic Diet

If you have diabetes, your body cannot make or properly use insulin. This leads to high blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. Healthy eating helps keep your blood sugar in your target range. It is a critical part of managing your diabetes, because controlling your blood sugar can prevent the complications of diabetes.

A registered dietitian can help make an eating plan just for you. It should take into account your weight, medicines, lifestyle, and other health problems you have.

Healthy diabetic eating includes

  • Limiting foods that are high in sugar
  • Eating smaller portions, spread out over the day
  • Being careful about when and how many carbohydrates you eat
  • Eating a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables every day
  • Eating less fat
  • Limiting your use of alcohol
  • Using less salt

Source: MedlinePlus

Diabetes: Minorities

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