FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DIABETES
1. What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is an important medical condition that affects millions of people both in the United States and around the world. It results from problems in an important natural hormone called insulin. Insulin is responsible for many functions in the body including how your body uses the sugar you take in through your diet. People with diabetes cannot effectively transport the sugar that is needed for the body to work into the cells of their body. The medications that are used to treat diabetes work to either increase the amount of insulin your body produces or help your body respond to its natural insulin supply more effectively.
2. Why is insulin so important in diabetes?
As stated earlier, insulin is a natural hormone that is made by your pancreas. Insulin acts like the gatekeeper of the cell. It signals the cells to “eat” the necessary nutrients that you take in through food and drink. Without insulin, these important substances, including sugar, remain in the blood unused. This causes two complications:
- The cells begin to “starve” due to lack of nutrients
- The high levels of unused sugar in the blood can cause serious long-term complications, including blindness and kidney damage.
3. Are there different kinds of diabetes?
There are two basic forms of diabetes, named (appropriately!) type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The main difference between these two forms of the disease involves the production of and response to insulin.
- Type 1 diabetics do not make enough insulin for their body to function properly. Therefore, the sugar they take in through their diet is not able to feed the body’s cells. These patients require extra insulin, usually in the form of daily injections, to supply the insulin they cannot make.
- Type 2 diabetics do not usually have a problem making insulin. The issue with these patients is that they do not respond enough to the insulin their bodies make. This is also called insulin resistance. Treatment of type 2 diabetes usually involves medications that help the body respond its own insulin, or that help to increase insulin production.
4. What are the common signs and symptoms of someone with diabetes?
The three main symptoms of diabetes are:
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your physician or health provider, as they will be able to test if you have diabetes.
5. What diabetes services does University Pharmacy provide?
We offer diabetes counseling and a wide range of monitors and accessories for monitoring your blood sugar. We also offer follow-up hemoglobin A1C measurements. This test is an important indicator of how well controlled your blood sugar has been controlled in the past 3 months. It’s fast (less than 5 minutes!), easy, and costs only $35.