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United States Department  of Veterans Affairs


Diabetes is a medical condition you should take seriously. Here is how it works...when you eat, the food is broken down into a sugar called glucose. Glucose travels in the blood to your cells and is used for energy. The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that helps glucose move into your cells. If you are a diabetic, the glucose builds up in your blood and it can not get into your cells. Your body does not make enough insulin or your cells do not use insulin correctly.

In order to help diagnosis diabetes, your healthcare provider may have you fast (or go without food) for at least eight hours and then take a sample of your blood. This test is called fasting plasma glucose and is used most often to diagnose diabetes. Normal fasting plasma glucose results are 99 mg/dl or below. Pre-diabetes is 100-125 mg/dl. Diabetes is above 126 mg/dl. A second test on a different day is needed to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.

Life style changes can help control diabetes. Following a healthy diet and paying attention to portion sizes can help decrease the amount of glucose in your blood. Exercise will help burn glucose quickly and improve the way the body uses insulin. Medicine may be needed to control diabetes. Your treatment plan may require all of these for good blood glucose control.

You should monitor your blood glucose levels at home. Keeping track of your blood glucose levels lets you know how your treatment plan is working. People with diabetes need regular check-ups with their provider. You should have your feet checked, your eyes examined, your blood pressure checked, along with lab work. Getting Started

General Information: An overview of the condition, including symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and medications

Self-Management: Understand and track the condition through use of various health tools

Success Stories: Personal accounts of how others have dealt with the condition

Caregiver Information : Caregiver resources and when to get additional help

Seeking Advanced Information: A wide range of information, research and clinical trials

Related Topics : Complimentary and alternative approaches to the condition

Reviewed/Updated Date: October 27, 2006
Clinical Advisory Board Sponsor: Dr. William Duncan
Clinical Subject Matter Experts: Dr. Leonard Pogach, Dr. Eric Nylen
Patient Education Subject Matter Experts: Lettie Corpuz, Kathy Denison, Kathy Green, Jackie Tatum

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