Sunday, July 20, 2008

Diabetes 101

I have diabetes. I've lived with the disease since 2003 when I was expecting my twins. The doctors promised that my high blood sugar levels and the need for insulin would resolve itself after the delivery. Unfortunately, I was one of the rare people who continued to suffer with the disease. After a few blood tests, my diagnosis was confirmed: Type 1 diabetes. I was 34 years old at the time.

Diabetes is reaching epidemic levels in the United States, due in large part to poor diet and exercise habits. True, the disease is hereditary, but those that are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have the opportunity in most cases to change lifestyles to ward off high blood sugar levels. Unlike Type 2, people who develop Type 1 diabetes have suffered from an auto-immune reaction. Something goes haywire in the patient's body and it literally attacks itself, killing off all of the beta cells in the pancreas that make natural insulin. As a result, the patient must self-administer insulin (through shots and or the use of an insulin pump) for the rest of their life, or die.

With Type 2, the patient's body becomes stressed over time as a result of having to create too much insulin to counter large amounts of ingested carbohydrates (sugars). In other cases, the patient's pancreas simply struggles to put out adequate levels of insulin. Oral medications, and a sensible diet and exercise program will be prescribed. Some Type 2 diabetics may eventually have to take insulin shots.

Warning signs of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are similar: (1) increased thirst; (2) increased hunger; (3) unexplained weight loss; (4) exhaustion; (5) blurred vision; (6) numbness in the extremities. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, please see your doctor as soon as possible!

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you can definitely lead a normal life. You will have to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels and watch what you eat, but for the most part, life can be similar to the way it was before. In fact, the more active you are, the better the management of the disease will be! For more information on how to improve your diabetes health, see this article.


  1. Type 1 at 34 is unusual.Hope your Aic level is good.India is also having an epidemic of type 2 but incidence of type 1 is still low

  2. Hi Charakan, yes you are right. Type 1 at my age was very unusual. I did have a friend whose husband got Type 1 at age 40 I am sorry to hear that India is having an epidemic of Type 2.

    My A1C level was 6.7 at last check, which is pretty good. Thanks for the comment!