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Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses food for energy. Since the body’s cells cannot use food properly, the blood sugar becomes high. A lack of insulin causes the high blood sugars.

Insulin is a hormone that helps get sugar into the cells for energy. Patricia Simmons Stuckey Cobb Extension Service Those at risk for diabetes include: African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Your risk for diabetes increases if you are over 45 years of age, overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides or have had diabetes during pregnancy. You can learn more about diabetes by attending the upcoming Diabetes Self-Management Program taught by The Diabetes Association of Atlanta (DAA).

Diabetes educators teach this three-part program. The initial assessment is Friday, March 11, by appointment only. The two-day group class will be Thursday and Friday, March l7 and 18. The location is our Cobb County Extension Service Office at 678 South Cobb Drive in Marietta. Registration is required. Call DAA at (404) 527-7150 to register. Medicare and some insurance is accepted. There are three types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults. It always requires insulin for treatment. A healthy diet with controlled amounts of carbohydrate is important. Regular exercise can reduce risk for heart disease and other complications. Symptoms include sudden weight loss, excess thirst and hunger, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, poor growth and lack of energy. If Type 1 diabetes is not treated ketosis can occur. Ketosis can cause coma and even death. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in older adults who are often overweight and out-of-shape. They cannot produce enough insulin to keep their blood sugars in control. A weight control diet and regular exercise are the first treatments tried. If diet and exercise are not enough, medication may be required.

Various diabetes pills can be prescribed. If diabetes medications are not effective, insulin may be needed. Symptoms for Type 2 diabetes usually are not obvious. In fact, people range from feeling tired to having symptoms like Type 1 diabetes. Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy. It is usually controlled with a special meal plan and exercise.

After delivery most women do not have diabetes; however, risks for Type 2 diabetes later in life are high. You can sign up for our Extension Service bimonthly diabetes newsletter. Diabetes Lifelines newsletter gives you information on the management of the disease, new medications and a recipe of the month. Call our Extension Service office at (770) 528-4070 to request a newsletter sign up form. Return the form to us and we will include your name on our mail list.

Janice Wiley, diabetes educator with the Diabetes Association of Atlanta says, “Tuesday, March 22 is Diabetes Alert Day for people to find out if they are at risk for diabetes and to raise awareness that diabetes is serious. You can have diabetes and not even know it. An individual can have diabetes six to 10 years before it is diagnosed.“ “During this time you could be developing complications such as nerve, eye, kidney or heart damage,” Wiley says. “You can find out your blood sugar numbers from your doctor or by having your glucose checked at health fairs.” To find out locations of screenings at health fairs, call The Diabetes Association of Atlanta at (404) 527-7150 or go to diabetesatlanta.org

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