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Diabetes

At Providence we commit ourselves to serving all persons with diabetes by providing quality, comprehensive diabetes self-management education and skills.

We believe that education is the key to empowering the person with diabetes to better manage his or her disease, thereby enabling our clients to experience a better quality of life.

Our mission is supported through a diabetic self care program that is easily accessed, promotes knowledge, behavioral changes and skills necessary for lifestyle alteration. Our goal is to empower health care providers, persons with diabetes and their families to become informed and remain current with diabetes management skills in order to promote health and prevent complications. We are also dedicated to being a diabetes educational resource in the heart of Central Texas.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is classed as a metabolism disorder. Metabolism refers to the way our bodies use digested food for energy and growth. Most of what we eat is broken down into glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar in the blood – it is the principal source of fuel for our bodies.

When our food is digested the glucose makes its way into our bloodstream. Our cells use the glucose for energy and growth. However, glucose cannot enter our cells without insulin being present – insulin makes it possible for our cells to take in the glucose. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin to move the glucose present in our blood into the cells, and lowers the blood sugar level.

A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too elevated (hyperglycemia). This is because the body either does not produce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces. This results in too much glucose building up in the blood. So even though the blood has plenty of glucose, the cells are not getting it for their essential energy and growth requirements.

There are three main type of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes (sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes) is usually found in young children and teenagers, but can also occur later in life. In Type 1 Diabetes, your body is not producing insulin. The normal treatment for people with type 1 diabetes is daily injections of insulin; which keeps the blood sugar level within normal ranges.

Type 2 Diabetes (sometimes called mature onset diabetes) is the most common form of diabetes. With Type 2 diabetes your body might be producing too little insulin, or it might not be reacting to the insulin correctly. Either way, the end result is that glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. Type 2 diabetes usually appears later in life, often between the ages of 35-45 years. As it often develops slowly, many people may not recognize the symptoms, and may have diabetes without knowing it. Left untreated, high blood sugar can cause serious long-term health problems.

Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that is only suffered by 5% of pregnant women. In Gestational diabetes, a woman's blood sugar is higher than normal because of the other hormones produced during pregnancy interfere with insulin that is produced naturally. Gestational diabetes testing is done on the first OB visit and usually becomes apparent during the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy, and, in most cases, disappears once the baby is born . These women have an increased risk of having a baby with birth defects if BG is not managed (REF: Center for Disease Control). While there can be complications caused by gestational diabetes, these can be managed by careful attention to nutrition and blood sugar levels. Women with Gestational Diabetes have a 40-60% chance of developing type 2 diabetes in 10 years.

Could You Have Diabetes?

Statistics show 23.6 million Americans are believed to have the disease and approximately 500,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year. Symptoms vary or may not even be apparent. A simple blood screening is the first step. Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Intense hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin infections
  • Numbness or tingling in fingers or toes
  • Sores slow to heal (especially on the feet)

Finding out you have diabetes can be upsetting, but it should not prevent you from living a long and happy life.

At Providence we offer you the opportunity to learn and manage your diabetes. When you are able to control your blood sugar levels, you can reduce the long-term complications of the disease. Unmanaged (or poorly managed) diabetes can lead to medical complications as serious as blindness, emergency amputations, or permanent damage to internal organs. Providence Diabetes Center offers you the opportunity to understand and learn how to self manage your diabetes. Diabetes self management is something everyone with diabetes should take seriously.