Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy.  The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.  When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should.  This causes sugars to build up in your blood.

Insulin dependant or Type 1 is when the pancreas makes little or no insulin because the insulin producing beta cells have been destroyed.  This type usually appears suddenly and most commonly in younger people under the age of 30.  Treatment consists of daily insulin injections or use of an insulin pump, a planned diet and regular exercise, and daily self monitoring of blood sugar.

Non-insulin dependent or Type 2 Diabetes is when the pancreas makes some insulin, sometimes too much.  However, the cells that utilize glucose for energy are resistant to the effects of insulin.  Type 2 Diabetes is controlled by diet and exercise and daily monitoring of blood sugar levels.  Sometimes oral drugs that lower blood glucose levels or insulin injections are needed.  This type of diabetes usually develops gradually, most often in people over 40 years of age.  Type 2 Diabetes accounts for 90-95 percent of diabetes.

Risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes are less well defined in comparison to Type 2 Diabetes.  Autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved in the development of Type 1 Diabetes.  Type 2 Diabetes risk factors include people over the age 45, obesity, family history, impaired glucose tolerance, and physical inactivity.

Some symptoms can include but are not limited to the following (you should consult your physician for the appropriate testing):

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Extreme hunger
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Excessive fatigue much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Slow healing sores
  • More infections than usual

During routine office visits your physician may check your current blood glucose along with your Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C).  Your Hemoglobin A1C is the substance of red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells and sometimes  joins with sugar.  Because the sugar stays attached for the life of the cell (about four months), a test to measure hemoglobin A1C shows what a person’s average blood glucose level was for that period of time.

Hemoglobin A1C
Result (percentage)

Estimated Average Glucose
over 3-4 months

















Download Daily Diabetes Log


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