St. Joseph Health System
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Diabetes

What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. The excess of glucose causes the pancreas to be less effective in producing insulin. Insulin is vital for converting sugars into fuel so your body can function properly. When these sugars are not turned into energy, your body responds by creating more glucose from stored fats. Over time, these sugars accumulate in the bloodstream. If the condition is left untreated, it can cause serious complications including heart and vascular disease, and kidney, eye and nerve damage.

The two main Types of diabetes are:
Type I (also called juvenile diabetes) which develops in children and young adults. In Type I Diabetes, the body does not produce enough or any insulin.

Type II (also called adult-onset diabetes) is the most common form of diabetes, affecting roughly 16 million Americans. As a result of type II diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced is ignored by the body. This condition develops in usually older, overweight people.

Currently, there is no cure for diabetes. However, there are many treatments available for diabetics to lead long and healthy lives. It is important to follow physicians instructions closely, as it can improve length and quality of life.

What are the warning signs and symptoms of diabetes?
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of Diabetes, because early prevention and treatment is the best way to avoid permanent complications.

If you have any of the symptoms below, contact your physician immediately:

  • Sweet, fruity breath (also called "acetone breath")
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive trips to the bathroom to urinate, especially at night
  • Blurred vision

What are the treatment options for diabetes?
The key is to keep your sugar levels within your target range by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and by using insulin injections. Through maintaining a healthy diet (low in carbohydrates, fats, and sugars), regular exercise, not smoking, and maintaining an insulin injection regimine, one can greatly lessen the negative effects of diabetes.  
 
For a referral to a St. Joseph's cardiologist call 979.821.7589.
 

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