Diabetes is a serious disease that affects over 18 million people in the United States. In diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin, a hormone, to keep the sugar level in the blood at a normal level about 70 to 120 mg/dL. Some of the symptoms of diabetes are extreme thirst, increased hunger and very frequent urination.
There are two types of diabetes, depending on whether your body produces any insulin at all. People with Type 1 diabetes produce no insulin. Although Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood, it can develop at any time. In Type 2 diabetes, some insulin is produced, but it is not enough to keep the blood sugar under control. Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who are overweight. Treatment and care for both types diabetes is aimed at keeping the blood sugar under 120 mg/dL.
For people with diabetes, managing their blood sugar is an important part of the daily lives. That means staying on a careful diet, getting regular exercise and checking your blood frequently to make sure your sugar level is in the proper range. Testing your urine with chemically treated strips is a quick way to get a general idea of your blood sugar, but it is not very precise. Fingerstick monitors provide fast and accurate readings of your blood sugar. A wide variety of diabetic monitors are available for home use.
Another way to check blood sugar control is by testing for a special kind of blood cell called hemoglobin 1Ac. The levels of this blood cells give information about long-term sugar control Your doctor can order this test when you go for check ups, but many newer home glucose monitors will read the level of HbA1c in your blood, allowing you to have a more accurate measure of blood sugar control over that past 60 to 90 days.
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