Diabetes is a disease where the body does not properly use or produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone used by the body to convert sugar, starches and other food sources into energy for normal daily life. If you have diabetes, your blood glucose can go too high or too low without proper levels of insulin. What actually causes diabetes remains a bit of a mystery however, genetics, environmental factors, obesity and even lack of exercise appear to play roles.

The two main types of diabetes are insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent.
Type I. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM).
Type II. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
This form of diabetes is insulin dependent and used to be called juvenile-onset diabetes because it occurs most often in children and young adults. But the name was changed after doctors realized it could occur at any age. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas stops making insulin or makes only a tiny amount. Insulin is necessary to live, so the hormone must be injected every day. IDDM is one of the most common chronic disorders in U.S. children. Each year, from 11,000 to 12,000 children are diagnosed with IDDM. Among the more than 7 million people in the United States who are being treated for diabetes, about 5 to 10 percent have IDDM.

The early symptoms of IDDM can be gradual or sudden. They include frequent urination (particularly at night), increase of thirst, unexplained weight loss, and extreme tiredness.
This form of diabetes used to be called maturity-onset diabetes because it occurs most often in adults, now called Adult Onset Diabetes Mellitus (AODM). In non-insulin-dependent diabetes, the pancreas produces some insulin but it is not used effectively. It is the most common type of diabetes. It accounts for 90 to 95 percent of diagnosed diabetes and almost all of undiagnosed diabetes. It usually develops in adults over age 40 and is most common in overweight people. Exercise, weight loss and diet can help overcome this type of diabetes. Maintaining an active fitness program has been shown to be beneficial in countering the effects of type II diabetes.

Diabetes is considered a silent disease. In the United States there are over 18 million people who have the disease yet almost one third of those infected are unaware that they have the disease. Left untreated, diabetes can cause heart, eye, foot, kidney and other problems.

There are two basic tests used to determine whether or not someone has diabetes or pre-diabetes, they are; a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Dr. Sarma recommends the FPG because it is easier, faster, and less expensive to perform.

With the FPG test, a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl demonstrates pre-diabetes, whereas a person with fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl or higher has diabetes or borderline diabetes.

In the OGTT test, blood glucose levels are measured after a fast and two hours after drinking a glucose-rich beverage. A fasting blood glucose level between 140 and 199 mg/dl demonstrates borderline/pre –diabetes, whereas a person with a fasting blood glucose level is at 200 mg/dl or higher has diabetes.

Diabetes Treatments;
What, when, and how much you eat can affect your blood glucose. Blood glucose is the main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, medications may be part of the treatment regime. Dr. Sarma will offer suggestions and treatment options.

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy and controlling your blood glucose. Physical activity should be safe and enjoyable, so no matter what kind of exercise you do here are a few physical reminders for people with diabetes:

Take care of your feet! Shoes should fit properly, keep socks clean and dry. Check your feet for redness or sores frequently. Call Dr. Sarma if you have sores that do not heal.
Drink about 2 cups of water prior to exercising and every 20 minutes during exercise, then even after you finish exercising, even if you’re not thirsty!
Always follow a pre-exercise warm up and post-exercise cool down for a minimum of 5 minutes. Pre-exercise warm up is easy, just walk slowly at first, and then begin to increase your pace, when you’re ready to stop, finish up by walking slowly.
Test your blood glucose before and after exercising. Do not exercise if your fasting blood glucose level is above 300. Eat a small snack if your blood glucose is below 100. If you have fatigue, anxiety, shakiness, headaches, excessive hunger, sweaty palms, drowsiness, or abdominal pain, this could mean that your blood sugar is low. Know the signs of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) and how to treat it. If you feel you have diabetes, call to schedule an appointment for testing.