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Health Briefs

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Plano

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Diabetes Defined 

Like many other health conditions, diabetes comes in different forms. Though “diabetes” is used as a blanket term, there’s more than one type. Learn the difference between the types as well as related conditions.

Type 1 comprises only 5 percent to 10 percent of the diabetes population and is typically diagnosed in children or young adults. Formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes, type 1 requires insulin therapy because the body does not produce this hormone—which is necessary to convert sugar and starches into everyday energy—on its own.

Type 2, the most prevalent type, affects the lives of millions of Americans, and many more don’t even know they have it. Some groups are at higher risk for type 2, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and the elderly. Type 2 occurs when the body either doesn’t produce sufficient insulin or cells don’t recognize it, which can cause glucose to build up in the bloodstream and produce complications if levels aren’t brought under control.

Gestational diabetes affects approximately 4 percent of women during pregnancy, though they may not have it before or after a pregnancy. If a woman’s body isn’t able to produce and use insulin needed during pregnancy, glucose builds up in the bloodstream and must be managed to protect the health of both mother and baby.

Pre-diabetes develops when your blood glucose (sugar) is higher than it should be, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. It is important to watch your blood glucose levels so that you don’t develop type 2 diabetes.

Highs and Lows

The terms hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are frequently connected with diabetes, but what do they really mean? In simplest terms, hyperglycemia is high blood sugar and hypoglycemia indicates low sugar levels. You’ll experience both with any type of diabetes, so it’s important to regularly monitor your blood glucose levels and keep them in check.

You’re Not Alone

You’ll discover you are not alone in our diabetes support and education group, where you can spend time with others who understand and take part in educational programs from Baylor Scott & White - Plano’s diabetes experts. Register to attend a support group today.