Information About Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body loses its ability to make any or enough insulin, therefore causing an elevation in blood sugar or glucose.

The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

There are two major types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 makes up 5 to 10 percent of all diabetics. Sometimes it’s referred to as juvenile diabetes because most of the cases develop in childhood or adolescence, but it can develop any time in life.

The cause of Type 1 Diabetes is thought to be autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas to make insulin. Therefore, type 1 diabetics have to take insulin to control their sugars and survive.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes make up 90 to 95 percent of all diabetics. The cause is thought to be resistance to insulin in the cells and tissues. The pancreas will increase the secretion of insulin, which will work for a while, but eventually it loses its ability to control the blood sugars effectively.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Elevated blood sugars
Increased thirst
Increased urination
Blurred vision
Unexplained weight loss

Risk Factors

There are risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Family history
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Certain ethnic and racial groups such as African Americans, Hispanic, and Native Americans are at an increased risk to develop diabetes.

Causes of Diabetes

Most of the food that we eat is converted into glucose or sugar. Our body uses glucose for energy or fuel. The pancreas is an organ that sits behind the stomach. It makes a metabolic hormone called Insulin. Insulin causes the blood sugar or glucose to leave the bloodstream and go into the body’s cells or tissues so they can be used for fuel. If a person develops diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes the insulin or the body’s cells or tissues become resistant to the insulin where it does not work that effectively.

An estimated 373,000 adults in Mississippi have Diabetes, but only 280,000 know they have the disease. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, and even cancer. The good news is that you can beat diabetes.

How Singing River Health System Treats Diabetes

Singing River Health System has a team of expert medical professionals working with patients to help prevent and control diabetes. The comprehensive plan of attack includes medicine and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.

Anyone aged 45 years or older should consider getting tested for diabetes, especially if you are overweight. If you are younger than 45 but are overweight and have on or more additional risk factors, you should consider getting tested.

Additional Risk Factors for Diabetes

  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
  • Being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino heritage.
  • Having a prior history of gestational diabetes or birth of at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
  • Having high blood pressure measuring 140/90 or higher.
  • Having abnormal cholesterol when HDL (good) cholesterol is 35 or lower, or triglyceride level is 250 or higher.
  • Being physically inactive – exercising fewer than three times a week.

Diabetes Education

Endocrinology Services has a Certified Diabetes Educator, Amy Gregory. In addition to patient consultations, she organizes a Diabetes support group.