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Diabetes FAQs


What is diabetes?
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
What are the different types of diabetes?
What are the risk factors of diabetes?
What is the best diabetes treatment?
What causes diabetes?
Can diabetes be prevented?


Diabetic Treatment and Diabetes Diet FAQs

Is there a diabetes cure?
What is the right amount of exercise?
What is the best diabetic diet?
What is the glycemic index and how does it impact a diabetes diet?
Does it matter what time of day I eat?
What foods make up a healthful diet?


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body's level of blood sugar, or glucose, rises above normal. Glucose, which is created when our bodies break down the food we eat, is used by our bodies for energy. But glucose requires the help of insulin, a hormone created by the pancreas, to do its job. Insulin enables the body to use the glucose by moving it from the blood to the cells. When the body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use the insulin as well as it should, glucose builds up in the blood, which can lead to diabetes. A sound diabetes diet and diabetes treatment plan can lower glucose levels.

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What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The symptoms can vary depending on the person and the type of diabetes. Common symptoms include:
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Very dry skin
  • Slow-healing sores
  • More infections than usual
  • Nausea*
  • Vomiting*
  • Stomach pain*
* Usually specific to Type I, or insulin-dependent, diabetes See your doctor for a diagnosis and for the right diabetes treatment and diabetic diet plan for you.

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What are the different types of diabetes?

Type I diabetes - Also called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, Type I accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of diabetes cases. A diabetic diet plan is part of the diabetes treatment for Type I diabetes. Type II diabetes - Also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, accounts for up to 95 percent of diabetes cases. In Type II diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. A diabetes diet and diabetes treatment plan can lower glucose levels for Type II diabetes. Gestational diabetes - This type is unique to pregnant women. It affects 2 percent to 5 percent of pregnancies, but usually disappears after birth. The remaining types of diabetes account for roughly 1 percent to 2 percent of diabetes cases. See your doctor for a diabetes treatment plan.

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What are the risk factors of diabetes?

Type I risk factors include autoimmune, genetic, and environmental elements. Being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for Type II diabetes. It can keep your body from making and using insulin properly and can cause high blood pressure. Other risk factors include older age, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, lack of exercise, and race/ethnicity (African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for Type II diabetes). A diabetes diet and diabetes treatment plan are critical features of your response to Type II diabetes.

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What is the best diabetes treatment?

Both Type I and Type II diabetes treatments recommend a sound diabetic diet plan and regular physical activity. Type I diabetes also requires insulin injections and frequent blood glucose testing. Type II diabetes may also require oral medication, insulin, or both to control blood glucose levels. All those with diabetes should see their health care provider for help in creating a diabetic diet plan and diabetes treatment strategy.

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What causes diabetes?

Type I diabetes is thought to result from exposure to an environmental trigger, such as a virus, which then attacks the pancreas and its ability to create insulin. Type II diabetes is thought to be linked to obesity and physical inactivity. Being overweight or obese can keep your body from making and using insulin properly. It can also cause high blood pressure. The exact causes for both types of diabetes remain largely unknown. Both can be managed with the help of a diabetic diet plan and appropriate diabetes treatment strategy.

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Can diabetes be prevented?

Studies have shown that regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing Type II diabetes. One study by the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) showed that people can delay and possibly prevent the disease by losing 5 percent to 7 percent of their total body weight via a recommended 30 minutes of exercise five days a week and a nutritious diet.

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Diabetic Treatment and Diabetes Diet FAQs


Is there a diabetes cure?

There is not currently a diabetes cure. For Type I, the only known "diabetes cure" is a pancreas transplant. Such surgery does, however, pose serious risks and requires transplant patients to take powerful drugs to ensure their body does not reject the transplant. Researchers are also experimenting with transplanting just the beta cells. Type II diabetes patients can manage diabetes via exercise and careful meal planning. Some Type II patients have even been able to reverse their diagnosis. Consult your doctor. While there is no diabetes cure, advances in diabetes treatment are being made all the time.

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What is the right amount of exercise?

An active lifestyle does not require many hours of activity a day, nor is it necessary to exert yourself to the point of muscle pain. A 20-minute walk four days a week can have a meaningful impact. Over time, and with a sound diabetic diet plan and diabetes treatment strategy, the duration and variety of these physical activities can increase.

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What is the best diabetic diet?

The best diabetes diet varies from person to person and depends on the type of diabetes and the diabetes treatment plan. A Type I diabetes diet will concentrate on matching food intake to insulin. A Type II diabetes diet is likely to focus on weight loss to improve the body's ability to use the insulin it does produce. See your doctor for the right diabetes treatment and diabetic diet plan for you.

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What is the glycemic index and how does it impact a diabetic diet plan?

The glycemic index ranks foods based on how quickly that food is digested, metabolized and then released into the bloodstream as glucose. It is useful in forming a diabetic diet plan as it indicates which foods are likely to cause a rapid increase in blood sugar.

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Does it matter what time of day I eat?

For Type I diabetes, matching food to insulin peaks helps control blood sugar. They must plan meals and snacks to avoid low blood sugar. Type II diabetics may want a diabetic diet plan that exchanges the three normal-sized meals a day for three smaller, lighter meals with occasional snacks.

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What foods make up a healthy diet?

Foods such as grains, pasta, breads, and rice are the foundation of a healthful diet with a recommended 6 to 11 servings daily. Vegetables should number 3 to 5 servings and fruit 2 to 4 servings, as well as 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese and 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, or nuts. Check with your doctor for help in developing the appropriate diabetic diet plan and diabetes treatment strategy for you.

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