If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are not alone. More than 25 million Americans have diabetes, and more than 79 million have prediabetes, which may become diabetes. At Lancaster General Health, we offer the region’s most robust resources for treating and managing this lifelong disease and living a healthy lifestyle.
What is diabetes?
The cells in your body need glucose, a type of sugar, for energy. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Special cells in an organ called the pancreas produce insulin, which moves glucose from the bloodstream to muscle, fat and liver cells for use as fuel.
When you have diabetes, the pancreas may not make enough insulin or the cells do not respond to insulin normally. Either way, the cells don’t get the glucose they need, and the sugar remains in your blood. These high blood sugar levels can cause a wide range of health problems, including:
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss
- Frequent infections
- Delayed healing
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blurred vision or blindness
- Pain or loss of feeling in the feet or hands
- Kidney disease
- Heart and circulatory problems
How do you develop diabetes?
Different types of diabetes have different causes, but family history and environment play a role. People with a family history of diabetes inherit risk factors. With Type 1 diabetes, triggers might include certain viruses, early diet, even exposure to cold. Family history plays a stronger role in development of Type 2 diabetes, as does lifestyle. Losing weight and exercising can help delay or prevent development of Type 2 diabetes.
When you have diabetes, it is important to keep your blood sugar level within normal ranges to avoid complications. You will learn how to monitor your blood sugar. You will also learn about diet, exercise and lifestyle changes that can help you maintain proper blood sugar levels. Depending on the type of diabetes you have, your doctor may also recommend insulin and/or other medications to help control your blood sugar and keep you healthy.
Valuable diabetes information from a trusted provider
A diagnosis of diabetes is life changing. We understand. That’s why Lancaster General Health has developed this Diabetes Online Community and gathered a wide range of resources to help you understand more about diabetes and to make the changes that are necessary to minimize the risk of complications and lead a healthy life.
Follow the links below for more information: