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To Your Health: Some facts about diabetes

by UofL Physicians last modified Nov 15, 2012 09:58 AM

Did you know that about 27 million Americans live with diabetes? It can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin or both. (Insulin is a hormone the pancreas produces to control blood sugar.)

To Your Health: Some facts about diabetes

Stephen Winters, chief, UofL Physicians-endocrinology practice.

Diabetes is a lifelong, chronic disease, and is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-injury lower-limb amputations and new onset of adult blindness in the United States. Symptoms can include high blood sugar, weight loss, increased thirst and frequent urination.

Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it most often is diagnosed in children, teens or young adults. In this disease, the body makes little or no insulin, so daily injections are needed to treat the disease. Type 2 diabetes makes up most diabetes cases, and it usually occurs in adulthood. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Being age 45 or over
  • Having family members who are diabetic
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having abdominal obesity or being overweight
  • Not exercising regularly

In its early stages, Type 2 diabetes may be reversible through healthy lifestyle changes, but there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes. Both types of diabetes are treated with a variety of medications, diet and exercise to control blood sugar levels and prevent symptoms and complications such as heart disease, poor circulation, recurrent infections, vision disturbance and neuropathy.

Specialists at UofL Physicians can help people living with the disease can lead full, normal lives.

“We work closely with other UofL Physicians to create a large, multidisciplinary network to provide optimal care,” said Stephen Winters, chief of the UofL Physicians-endocrinology practice. “Our diabetes program includes training in carbohydrate counting, insulin self-management and insulin pumps. We provide our patients with extensive educational tools and support on how to manage diabetes and prevent diabetes complications.”

Editor’s Note: UofL Today reprints To Your Health articles from the “UofL Physicians-Insider” newsletter. Read the entire November Issue (opens as a PDF document). Learn more about diabetes, find a UofL Physician, make an appointment and more at the UofL Physicians website.

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