Understanding Diabetes

posted on August 28, 2013

What is Diabetes?1

Diabetes is a disease in which the body doesn't make insulin or does not properly use the insulin that the body produces. The food you eat is broken down into sugar called glucose. Glucose travels to all your body cells through your blood. Cells use the glucose for growth and energy. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells. If the body does not produce insulin or it can't efficiently use the insulin it does not have, sugar builds up in the blood.

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Find out if you are at risk.  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are overweight are at high risk for type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes - that means a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be called diabetes. Talk with your physician about your risk.

Lose a small amount of weight.  The weight you think is normal for you may not be a healthy weight. You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing as little as 10 pounds.

Be more physically active.  Choose an activity you enjoy and get family members or friends to join you during a walk, playing ball, swimming or other activity. Be active at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week to help you lose weight and stay healthy.

Make healthful food choices.  Eat healthfully and incorporate more fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, whole grain rice, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese in your diet. Keep healthy snacks such as fruit in the house. Avoid fried foods. Serve smaller portions. Drink enough water to say hydrated.

You should consult your physician to find out whether or not you are at risk for having diabetes. There are several different blood tests that are used to diagnose diabetes. Finding out early that you have or are at risk for diabetes provides you with a chance to make lifestyle changes or begin treatment that could help prevent or delay problems.

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If you have any questions in regards to the information contained in this article, contact Kuakini Health System's Marketing and Public Relations Office at 547-9168.

1Excerpts from Understanding Diabetes, http://www.kuakini.org/wps/portal/public/Health-Wellness/Health-Info-Tips/Diabetes/blank.

* The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. The information on this webpage does not constitute medical, nursing or other professional health care advice or diagnosis and should not be relied upon for treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. First Hawaiian Bank expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of any decision made or action taken based on your reliance on the information contained in this site.

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