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Diabetes: What should I know?

From Laura Cross, BSN-RN, CDCES, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at Gulf Coast Medical Center

With diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin or cannot use it as well as it should, resulting in too much blood sugar or glucose in the bloodstream. Over time, this can cause serious health problems such as, heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease.

According to the American Diabetes Association and the Lee Health Diabetes Education team:

  • More than 37 million adults and children in the United States, or approximately 11% of the population, are living with diabetes.
  • There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, type 2 and gestational. Approximately 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2.
  • It is estimated that one in three adults in the U.S. has prediabetes, 80% of whom do not know they have it.

How do I know if I have diabetes?

Common symptoms of diabetes may include any of the following: Feeling very thirsty, urinating more often than usual, blurry vision, feeling tired and/or having sores that are slow to heal. However, some people with diabetes have no symptoms at all.

Your physician may order one or more of the following tests to find out if you have diabetes:

  • A1C blood test
  • Fasting blood glucose
  • Glucose tolerance test

How do I manage diabetes?

Diabetes is best handled by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and working with a team of health care professionals to learn the best ways to manage your diabetes.

If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, please know this is a common condition and there is plenty of support available to you. With proper management, you can lead a healthy lifestyle.

If you are facing diabetes or prediabetes, our certified diabetes educators offer three educational programs: Diabetes Prevention, Diabetes Self-Management, and Pregnancy and Diabetes.

  • Diabetes Prevention: For people diagnosed with prediabetes
  • Diabetes Self-Management: For people diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Pregnancy and Diabetes: For women who have diabetes and become pregnant or are diagnosed with gestational diabetes

Courses are offered in-person and online in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. One-on-one appointments are also available. Call 239-424-3127 to register for the program that fits your needs. To learn more, please visit