Managing Your Diabetes
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What is Diabetes?
Your body changes much of the food you eat to a kind of sugar called glucose. Glucose is the major source of energy for your body. Your body makes insulin to help change the glucose into energy. Diabetes is a disease that can stop your body from making insulin or prevent it from using insulin properly. When you have diabetes, your body can’t change glucose into energy. Some parts of your body can’t get enough glucose for energy. If your diabetes is not managed well, high blood sugar can result. Parts of the body can be harmed when too much glucose is in the blood.
Diabetes is a serious disease. When the body is exposed to high blood sugar over a long period of time there can be severe damage to blood vessels and nerves. If diabetes is uncontrolled, people have a higher risk of getting heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and loss of feeling in their feet and legs.
How do you know if you are at risk of having diabetes? Take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test (PDF) to learn more.
Types of Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone that “unlocks” the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter to produce energy. People with type 1 diabetes cannot make any insulin and must take insulin shots as well as engage in daily physical activity and healthy eating. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs before the age of 30. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin) combined with, in some cases, a lack of ability to produce insulin. People with type 2 diabetes use daily physical activity and healthy eating to manage their diabetes and in some cases use diabetes pills or insulin, or diabetes pills and insulin. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy. In the United States, according to the US CDC in a 2014 analysis, 9.2% of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes each year.
Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. There are approximately 86 million Americans who have pre-diabetes. In addition, there are a total of 30.3 million people in the US who have diabetes: 23.1 are diagnosed and 7.2 are undiagnosed.
Diabetes is a disease you will have for the rest of your life.
What To Do
If you have diabetes, you can be healthy and reduce the risks of complications when you:
- Eat healthy, nutritious food in moderate amounts
- Are physically active every day
- Check your blood sugar regularly
- Take the medicine that your medical provider prescribes
- See your medical provider regularly
- Keep your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol as close to the normal range as possible
See the Resources section below for web page links on Nutrition and Meal Planning, Physical Activity, Cardiovascular, and Tobacco and Substance Use Prevention and Control
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Diabetes and their Diabetes Basics webpages.
Insurance or Financial Concerns
The following is a list of possible resources to contact for assistance:
- Maine Rx Plus 1(866) 796 2463
- Pharmaceutical Drug Assistance Programs web sites
- Social Worker at local hospital or health center
Are You Prepared for an Emergency - Plan for your diabetes care during a disaster situation
Nutrition and Meal Planning
- National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP): Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes Healthy Eating
- American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Basics
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (DPHP): Dietary Guidelines
- My Food Advisor Meal Planning: Meal Planning Tool