Resources at Hebrew SeniorLife

Diabetes

Type II Diabetes

More than 20 million Americans--about 7 percent of the population--have diabetes. Of these, 90 to 95 percent have type II diabetes or what is commonly called adult-onset diabetes. While type II diabetes usually occurs after age 45, the number of children with the disease is increasing rapidly because of rising obesity rates. Robert Schreiber, M.D., physician-in-chief at Hebrew SeniorLife and an expert on managing chronic diseases in older adults, says that while there is no cure for diabetes, regular exercise, reducing fat intake, and losing weight can help to ward off or manage type II diabetes.

Definition

  • A chronic medical condition that results when the body does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that helps to metabolize carbohydrates, to maintain normal blood sugar levels or when cells don't respond appropriately to the insulin that the body does make.

Causes

  • Genetic and environmental factors (such as obesity or lack of exercise)

Symptoms

  • Weight gain or loss as the body compensates for fluctuating blood sugar levels
  • Blurred vision as high blood sugar levels affect the eyes' ability to focus
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination

Risk Factors

  • Family history, especially if a parent or sibling has the disease
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Age, especially after age 45
  • Race, especially African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics

Diagnosis

  • Fasting blood sugar test to determine the amount of sugar in the blood
  • Glycated hemoglobin test, which measures average blood sugar levels over a two- or three-month period

Treatment

  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Weight control
  • Medications to help boost insulin production
  • If necessary, insulin injections to replace what the pancreas is unable to produce

Glossary

Diabetes - a chronic medical disorder in which blood glucose (sugar) levels are abnormally high because the body does not release or use insulin adequately to remove sugar from the bloodstream.

Carbohydrate - a compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that takes the form of sugars, starches and cellulose (fiber) in food that the body uses to produce energy for living cells.

Glycated hemoglobin test - also called A-1-C, this test measures overall blood sugar control over a two- or three-month period; a score of less than 7 indicates good blood sugar control.

Insulin - a naturally-occurring hormone secreted by the pancreas to help cells in the body remove from or use glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Links

American Diabetes Association - www.diabetes.org
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases: www2.niddk.nih.gov
Joslin Diabetes Center - www.joslin.org  


Disclaimer
The information contained on this Web site is intended for general consumer understanding and education. The information is provided as a resource only and is not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Access to the information on this site is voluntary. We advise users to consult their physician or other qualified health-care professional if they have questions regarding personal health and medical conditions. Hebrew SeniorLife expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained on this site.

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