Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. People with diabetes have problems converting food to energy. After a meal, food is broken down into a sugar called glucose, which is carried by the blood to cells throughout the body. Cells use insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, to help them convert blood glucose into energy.
People develop diabetes because the pancreas does not make enough insulin or because the cells in the muscles, liver, and fat do not use insulin properly, or both.
As a result, the amount of glucose in the blood increases while the cells are starved of energy. Over the years, high blood glucose, also called hyperglycemia, which my mother has a problem with, damages nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to complications such as heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve problems, gum infections, and amputation.
There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes, which was first called juvenile diabetes, is usually first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or younger adults. In this form of diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body’s immune system has attacked and destroyed them.
Type 2 diabetes, first called adult-onset diabetes, is the most common form.
People can develop it at any age, even during childhood. This form of diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which muscle, liver, and fat cells do not use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. In time, though, it loses the ability to secrete enough insulin in response to what you eat.
Gestational diabetes develops in some women during the late stages of pregnancy. Although this form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, a woman who has had it is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Gestational diabetes is caused by the hormones of pregnancy or by a shortage of insulin.
In pre-diabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be characterized as diabetes. However, many people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within ten years. Pre-diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With reserved weight loss and moderate physical activity, people with pre-diabetes can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
There are three main tests used for diagnosing diabetes and pre-diabetes.
The first is a fasting plasma glucose test measures your blood glucose after you have gone at least eight hours without eating. This test is used to detect diabetes or pre-diabetes. The second is an oral glucose tolerance test which measures your blood glucose after you have gone at least eight hours without eating and two hours after you drink a glucose-containing beverage. This test can also be used to diagnose diabetes or pre-diabetes. In a random plasma glucose test, your doctor checks your blood glucose without regard to when you ate your last meal. This test, along with an assessment of symptoms, is used to diagnose diabetes but not pre-diabetes.
Positive test results should be confirmed by repeating the fasting plasma glucose test or the oral glucose tolerance test on a different day. So you should definitely take these more than once.
The FPG (fasting plasma glucose) is the preferred test for diagnosing diabetes and is most reliable when done in the morning. If your fasting glucose level is 100 to 125 mg/dL, you have a form of pre-diabetes called impaired fasting glucose (IFG), meaning that you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes but do not have it yet. A level of 126 mg/dL or above, confirmed by repeating the test on another day, means that you have diabetes. There are chart examples included at the end of my paper labeled FPG Chart.
Research has shown that the OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test) is more sensitive than the FPG test for diagnosing pre-diabetes, but it is less convenient to process. The OGTT requires you to fast for at least eight hours before the test. Your plasma glucose is measured immediately before and two hours after you drink a .