Diabetes and CAD


Diabetes is a lifelong sickness that affects almost every part of our body.  Almost 18.2 million Americans have diabetes and almost one third of these people (or approximately 5.2 million) do not know that they have it.  An additional 41 million people have pre-diabetes.  There is no cure for diabetes.  People with diabetes need to manage their blood sugar levels to stay healthy.

Terms for understanding diabetes:

Insulin: made by the pancreas.  Insulin allows the body to use sugar for energy.  If you do not have enough insulin, the blood sugar rises and your body feels weak and tired due to no fuel.

Pancreas: contains beta cells that make insulin

There are 3 types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes formerly called juvenile or childhood-onset or insulin dependent diabetes.  This type of diabetes happens when your body’s immune system destroys cells in your pancreas called beta cells. Beta cells are the ones that make insulin.  Type 1 diabetes is not very common.  Only about 5% of people with diabetes have type 1.  It affects men and women both.  Although diabetes usually starts in people under 20, it can happen at any age.

Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes) can happen at any age.  It most commonly appears during adulthood although type 2 diabetes in kids is rising due to being overweight.  Type 2 diabetes makes up for the majority of people who have diabetes.  In type 2 diabetes, the body is not able to use insulin the right way.  This is called insulin resistance.  As type 2 diabetes gets worse, the body makes less and less insulin.  This is called insulin deficiency.

Gestational diabetes (pregnancy diabetes) is a form high blood sugar affecting pregnant women.  Once the baby is born, the diabetes goes away.

Controlling blood sugar levels is the key to staying healthy with diabetes.  Some individuals are able to control their blood sugar levels with diet and exercise while others need medications.  For type 1 diabetes, lifelong medication is needed.  Since diabetes affects nearly every part of the body, routine physician visits are needed.  Heart disease is often caused by poor control of diabetes or high blood sugar levels.  Due to this, routine physical exams and labs including a lipid panel (cholesterol and triglycerides) and a hemoglobin A1c (which gives your provider an overview of your blood sugar readings over the past 3 months) is highly recommended.  Compliance with diet and medication, along with exercise makes it possible to live a normal life with diabetes.  Please make a follow up appointment with your health care provider today for lab testing and a routine exam.