Published on October 27, 2022

Understanding the difference between diabetes and prediabetes

Diaetes awareness month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, an important time to boost awareness about the risk factors, symptoms, and types of diabetes.

Diabetes affects the body’s ability to make insulin and/or effectively use the insulin it does make. Insulin helps the body keep blood sugar (glucose) levels in a healthy range. Without insulin, too much sugar can build up in the blood, which causes high blood sugar. Keeping blood sugars in a healthy range is important to help prevent complications associated with diabetes — problems with the heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. The strategy in controlling diabetes is to keep the blood sugar as close to normal as possible. There are many helpful ways to manage blood sugars, including a healthy diet, physical activity, and sometimes medication.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition that occurs before diabetes. It means blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Many people have it and don’t know it. If you have prediabetes, it doesn’t mean you will get diabetes, but it does increase your chances.

Reduce your risk of prediabetes:

Be active — one of the best ways to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes

Lose weight — even moderate weight loss can help improve blood sugars

Create healthier eating habits — making small, healthy choices throughout the day can add up to

   a healthier, longer life

Visit Don't Feed the Diabetes to learn more, and to measure your risk.

What is Type 1 diabetes?

In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin. Once these cells are destroyed, the body can’t make insulin. That means people with Type 1 diabetes need to regularly inject insulin into their bodies to help manage their blood sugar levels. Scientists are conducting research to determine if this autoimmune disease is caused by genetic or environmental factors. Diet and lifestyle habits do not cause Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is typically developed later in life and can sometimes be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a condition resulting in high blood sugar levels in women who are pregnant. Glucose levels often return to normal after giving birth. It’s important, however, to be tested regularly after having gestational diabetes, as it increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Need help managing diabetes?

Our team of dietitians and nurses can provide education and counseling to help you manage diabetes. We offer one-on-one appointments and group classes, depending on your needs.

If you have questions, contact Diabetes and Nutrition Therapy at (831) 649-7220.

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