What is diabetes?

Glucose or blood sugar is a vital source of energy for your body’s cells. If you have diabetes, you have too much glucose in your blood because of your body’s inability to produce insulin or use it efficiently.

There are two types of diabetes.

  • Type I is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, requiring you to inject insulin daily. It used to be called “juvenile diabetes,” but adults are diagnosed with type I as well.
  • Type II happens when your body produces insulin.  However, it either does not use it efficiently or makes less than what your body requires. Obesity is a major factor—85 percent of people who have type II are overweight. While once referred to as “adult onset” diabetes, children and adolescents are also being diagnosed with type II diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

What are the potential complications of diabetes?

Diabetes can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness or limb amputation.

What can I do to prevent diabetes?

To manage or prevent diabetes: eat less and move more.

Watch your carbohydrate intake. To help manage what you eat, use a nine-inch plate, about the size of a classic paper plate. Fill half with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with lean protein and ¼ with starch.

To make lifestyle changes to move more, think activity instead of exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity three to five times per week. It can be short —try two 15-minute walks. Alternating weight training and aerobic activity helps too. Sometimes, a supervised exercise program can help you learn how to be active safely and make lasting changes.

What are some of the treatments for diabetes?

People who have type I diabetes need insulin injections every day to manage glucose levels. For type II, treatment begins with diet and exercise and, if necessary, medication. Different medications work in the body in different ways—your doctor can determine what is right for you.

What are the diabetes rates in the United States?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.

What are the diabetes rates in Maryland?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 8.9 percent of adults in Maryland have been diagnosed with diabetes.  Also, diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in Prince George’s County.

How does Doctors Community Hospital help people who have diabetes?

Whether you have just been diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for years, the broad range of training and support at our Joslin Diabetes Center can help you every step of the way toward better health.

The only multidisciplinary program in Prince George’s County accredited by the American Diabetes Association, we provide both medical and educational services.  In fact, our comprehensive program includes board-certified endocrinologists, certified diabetes educators, registered dieticians as well as diabetic ulcer and non-healing wound care.

Learn more about our Joslin Diabetes Center.