Brown bag lecture: ‘All you need to know about diabetes’

by Symptom Advice on September 23, 2011

The next Brown Bag Lecture at the Estes Park Medical Center is Friday, Sept. 30, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. in the Timberline Conference room. Attendees can bring their lunch and the medical center will provide dessert and coffee. Dr. Guy VanderWerf, M.D., who is a physician with the Family Medical Clinic, will present the program on diabetes. VanderWerf has been with Family Medical Clinic since 1994. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences from Stanford University and went on to receive his doctor of Medicine from the University of Arizona. He is board-certified in family medicine.

Diabetes is a condition that is characterized by high blood sugar level. In diabetes, the glucose level in your body increases, either because your body is unable to produce a type of hormone called insulin, or it is unable to properly utilize the insulin produced by the pancreas. In either case, the glucose level in the body increases, leading to a hyperglycemic condition or high glucose level.

The primary cause of diabetes is either that the pancreas is not producing enough insulin, or the insulin receptors of your cells are not functioning normally. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are 25.8 million people in the United States, or 8.3 percent of the population, who have diabetes and 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year in people aged 20 years and older.

There are various types of diabetes, but the most common are Type I and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. only 5 percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. With the insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children with Type 1 diabetes can learn to manage their conditions and live long, healthy lives.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes than others. For example, Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders, as well as older populations.

In Type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless. recent studies indicate that the early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes. Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are as follows:

Type 1 diabetes

Frequent urination

Unusual thirst

Extreme hunger

Unusual weight loss

Extreme fatigue and Irritability

Type 2 Diabetes

any of the Type 1 symptoms

Frequent infections

Blurred vision

Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal

Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet

Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections.

Many people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes complications, such as blurry vision or heart trouble. It is important to find out early if you have diabetes, because treatment and education can prevent damage to your body. Over the years, high blood glucose damages nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems, gum infections and amputations. It is never too late to prevent diabetes or to become educated.

Join us on Sept. 30, from 12 noon to 1 p.m., to learn more about diabetes with Dr. Guy VanderWerf. He will review types of diabetes, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and long-term care of the disease. For more information or to RSVP, call 577-4390.

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