A diagnosis of diabetes is not a death sentence, but to remain in good health you must learn all you can about the disease and how to manage it. You need to take ownership of your diabetes and keep blood glucose within a target range that is good for you. Your health care provider can work with you to help you get to your target blood glucose range.
Diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than 126 mg/dl. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, which our bodies use for energy. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of the body. When you have diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or the cells can’t effectively use the insulin that is made. When there is insufficient insulin, blood glucose levels become high, and the glucose left in the blood spills over in the urine with-out being used by the body for energy.
Having high blood glucose over a period of time can damage large and small blood vessels and nerves in the body. Damage to large blood vessels may lead to poor circulation, heart attack, and strokes. Damage to small blood vessels may lead to eye disease (retinopathy), and kidney disease. Damage to nerves may lead to pain, loss of feeling in the hands, legs, and feet, and weak muscles.
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