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Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes Q&A

Throughout the month of November in celebration of American Diabetes Month, we will bring you facts about the prevention and the management of prediabetes and diabetes.  We started last week with prediabetes and have now progressed to type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association in 2011 a total of 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
Diagnosed: 18.8 million people
Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people
Prediabetes: 79 million people

What is type 1 diabetes?
People with type 1 diabetes do not make any insulin at all. They require insulin injections to provide the insulin they need to allow the sugar from the blood to enter the cells to produce energy (remember, insulin is the key that opens the cells and allows the glucose to enter). Only about 5% to 10% of people with diabetes have type 1.

What is type 2 diabetes?
In type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin that the body does make (insulin resistance).Therefore, all the sugar does not enter the cells, but stays in the blood. About 90% to 95% of people with diabetes have type 2.

What can I do if I have type 2 diabetes?
There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but it can be managed by 7 self –care behaviors identified by the American Association of Diabetes educators,(AADE) that work together to influence your overall health.

The 7 self –care behaviors are:
1. Healthy Eating
2. Being Active
3. Monitoring
4. Taking Medication
5. Problem Solving
6. Reducing Risks
7.  Healthy Coping.

However, the most frequently asked question by a person with newly diagnosed diabetes is;

What can I eat now that I have diabetes?
The body’s primary source of energy is sugar (glucose). Sugar comes from breaking down carbohydrate foods such as fruit, milk and yogurt, sweets, and starches. Foods that contain carbohydrates contribute to increased blood sugar levels. We need to learn to recognize the foods that contain carbohydrates and limit the intake of these foods to maintain blood sugars within the target range set by your doctor. Remember meats, fish, and poultry do not contain carbohydrates. (If you have to kill it to eat it, it’s not a carbohydrate.)

Portion sizes also factor into the overall affect of carbohydrate intake on blood sugars. We have become accustomed to exaggerated portions when eating out and are frequently surprised at what a “true portion size” really is.

Learn about carbohydrates so you can be comfortable reading nutrition labels and knowing what they mean.

Next week we’ll cover the Truths and Myths of Diabetes.”

Carol V. White, BSN, RN-BC is a Patient Educator in the Adult Diabetes Management Program with WakeMed Health & Hospitals