Many of the 23.6 million Americans (7.8% of the population) affected by diabetes can control this chronic disease with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and possibly the use of medicine. Education is one of the key components to living well with diabetes. You can achieve control by becoming an informed and involved member of the healthcare team.
Medical City Lewisville has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for its inpatient diabetes program by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care. The certification award recognizes Medical City Lewisville’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards. The hospital is the first facility in Denton County to receive this certification and is one of only three certified programs in the state.
What is Diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association defines diabetes as a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin. There are three types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Insulin resistance prevents the body from using insulin properly. Initially, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. Eventually, it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep blood glucose at normal levels.
Gestational diabetes can affect an otherwise healthy pregnant woman and is usually diagnosed around the 24th week. It is estimated that gestational diabetes affects 18% of pregnancies. Gestational diabetes indicates that the body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels. This is called hyperglycemia.
Symptoms of Diabetes:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss - even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Common Diabetes Myths
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: If you manage your diabetes properly, you can prevent or delay diabetes complications. However, diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.
Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and "dietetic" foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.
Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.
Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. Wondering how many carbohydrates you can have? A place to start is about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal, or 3-4 servings of carbohydrate-containing foods. However, you may need more or less carbohydrate-heavy meals depending on how you manage your diabetes. You and your health care team can figure out the right amount for you. Once you know how many carbs to eat at a meal, choose your food and the portion size to match.
Myth: People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more "off-limits" to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a small portion and save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on more healthful foods.