Understanding Diabetes

Article Contributed by
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Program would like to provide you with some information on Diabetes.

What is Diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association explains that Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body does not make enough—or any—insulin or does not use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and does not reach your cells. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes.” These terms suggest that someone does not really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious. The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you have had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. EFNEP Nutrition Educators are offering a nutrition education program called “Finding a Balance: Prevention of Diabetes and its Complications” (FAB)

Learn how to plan balanced, healthy and affordable meals that take concerns like carbohydrate intake into account. Classes will address concerns for: People who care for someone with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, have a diagnosis or pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes or concerned about pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes (e.g. strong family history) Please call Cornell Cooperative Extensions and speak to an EFNEP Educator to see if you qualify for free classes at 716-664-9502.

The EFNEP Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua. Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.