Diabetes Mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels that develop when your body does not produce enough insulin, or when your body does not effectively use the insulin that it does produce.
Your body needs insulin to break down sugar for energy. Normally, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin is used to allow the absorption of sugar into cells from the blood stream. When the blood glucose level elevates after eating, insulin is released from the pancreas to allow sugars to be transferred from the blood to the cells and then return the blood glucose level to normal. In patients with diabetes, the absence of, or insufficient production of insulin causes hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, meaning that although it can be controlled, it lasts a lifetime.
Women with diabetes are much more likely to have heart attacks, angina (chest pain) or require heart surgery than men with diabetes. Although the cause is not fully understood, it is believed to be connected with the interaction between female hormones, blood sugar and insulin.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, and usually develops in children, teenagers, young adults and even people in their 30s. It occurs when the pancreas no longer produces insulin, which the body needs to break down sugar for energy. It is believed that a combination of genetic predisposition and other unknown factors provoke the immune system into attacking and killing the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Symptoms are often dramatic and come on very suddenly. It is treated with insulin. 10% of people with diabetes have Type 1, also known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM).
Type 2 Diabetes often develops in overweight adults and is primarily caused by insulin resistance. It occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. This means no matter how much insulin is made, the body cannot use it as well as it should. As a result, glucose cannot be moved from the blood into cells. Over time, the excess sugar in the blood gradually poisons the pancreas causing it to make less insulin and making it even more difficult to keep blood glucose under control.
Symptoms are often subtle and may be attributed to aging or obesity. A person may have type 2 diabetes for many years without knowing it. It can be precipitated by steroids and stress. People with type 2 diabetes can develop hyper-glycemic hyperosmolar non-ketotic syndrome. If not properly treated, type 2 diabetes can lead to complications like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and nerve damage.
90% of people with diabetes have Type 2, also known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) or adult onset diabetes mellitus (AODM). Obesity is a leading cause of insulin resistance – 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Genetic factors are also likely to be involved in the cause of type 2 diabetes. A family history of the disease has been shown to increase the chances of getting it.
Gestational Diabetes occurs in 2 to 4% of women during pregnancy. Significant hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to blood sugar elevation in genetically predisposed individuals. Gestational diabetes usually resolves once the baby is born. However, 25% – 50% of women with gestational diabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes later in life, especially in those who require insulin during pregnancy and those who remain overweight after their delivery.
Diabetes is a chronic, life-long condition that requires careful control. Without proper management it can lead to serious health complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage. However, with the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, complications can be delayed or prevented.
The onset of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented through a healthy lifestyle. Change your diet, increase your level of physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight. With these positive steps, you can stay healthier longer and reduce your risk of developing diabetes and its related health complications.
If you already have diabetes, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can help you control your blood glucose levels and can lower your risk of developing complications.
People with diabetes or pre-diabetes are responsible for much of their care, which can be complicated and difficult. However, self-care can be made easier by working with the patient’s healthcare team to set goals for blood sugar levels, weight loss, and control of other health risks. Goals may vary depending on other risk factors, such as age, and the presence of cardiac disease and other complications.
Diabetes Blood Sugar Goals
The major goal in treating diabetes is to minimize any elevation of blood sugar (glucose) without causing abnormally low levels of blood sugar. Careful control of blood sugars can help prevent the long-term effects of poorly controlled blood.
Diabetes Weight Goals
Being overweight is itself a risk for diabetes as excess weight can make it harder for the body to use insulin. Most healthcare professionals suggest that diabetics aim to maintain a healthy weight for their height and body type. This weight is often based on a person’s;
If a woman is pregnant, her healthcare provider may set guidelines for how much weight she should aim to gain during her pregnancy, depending on her pre-pregnancy weight and whether she has gestational diabetes.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on a formula that calculates the ratio of your height and weight. Your BMI is an indicator of your appropriate weight for your height and is a more reliable indicator of body fat than just weight alone.
A BMI of less than 25 is the goal for keeping your blood sugar under control. If your BMI is above the normal range then you are at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The National Institutes of Health has set recommended target ranges for blood pressure and lipid levels, since each of those can contribute to the risk of heart disease:
Management of the patient with diabetes requires a multidisciplinary team approach where the primary care provider must take a systematic approach to the evaluation and management of the patient. The goals of therapy are to correct the metabolic abnormalities of diabetes and to prevent the development of micro-vascular and macro-vascular complications. Whether a new patient is being evaluated or an established patient is being followed-up, recognized treatment guidelines and recommendations for ensuring good diabetes care should be kept in mind.
Type 1 Diabetes is treated with insulin, exercise, and a diabetic diet.
Type 2 Diabetes is treated first with weight reduction, a diabetic diet, and exercise. When these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugars, oral medications are used. If oral medications are still insufficient, treatment with insulin is considered.
Weight reduction and exercise are important treatments for diabetes because they increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin, making it more effective, and thus helping to control blood sugar elevations and minimize the need for medications and insulin.
The Dr. Bernstein diet program is a medically supervised weight loss program which is a safe and effective method for diabetic patients to reduce fat and maintain a healthy weight. With this diet program, over 90% of our patients stop the use of all diabetic medication when they reach their healthy goal weight. The Dr. Bernstein Diet program includes a restricted diet along with vitamin and mineral supplementation and behavioural and life style modification.
At Dr. Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics, we have been able to help many patients at pre-diabetic stage and those diagnosed with diabetes (both Type 1 & Type 2) with medically supervised weight loss. Our expertly-trained doctors and nurses monitor you throughout the program and can help you achieve better control of your blood sugars and reduce or eliminate your need for diabetic medications, including insulin, and prevent the very serious complications of diabetes as you lose weight. Blood tests may even show that your diabetes no longer exists. Imagine no longer needing to do finger-prick blood sugar tests!