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Understanding Diabetes - A Simple Breakdown

As one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States, diabetes impacts nearly 9.3 percent of the entire population. That translates to around 29.1 million Americans who have diabetes -- with 8.1 million of them undiagnosed -- according to the American Diabetes Association.


There are two common types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. To understand the differences between these types and what it means for the people who suffer from Diabetes, let’s review a few key terms.

What is Glucose?

Glucose, a simple sugar, is an important energy source needed by all cells and organs of our bodies. Diets with high carbohydrates typically have higher amounts of sugar such as fruit, bread, pasta, and cereals. Once the food is eaten, our stomachs break down the food and glucose can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin allows your body to use the glucose it gets from the food sources and regulates the glucose in your body to normal levels needed and also considering the person’s diet and activity level.

Insulin also helps your body store the glucose and allows the body to release the glucose into your blood stream when your body needs the energy.


Type 1 Diabetes

People with Type 1 Diabetes make little to no insulin. Without this important hormone to regulate blood glucose levels, the person can become quite ill with high glucose levels called hyperglycemia leading to diabetes.


If left untreated, hyperglycemia can cause long-term complications such as:


  • Nerve damage

  • Kidney failure

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Vision problems

  • Neuropathy, or nerve damage

  • Infections and non-healing wounds

  • Foot complications


There is no current cure for Type 1 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in children. People with type 1 diabetes need to take medications (insulin) in order to help their body regulate glucose. Insulin medication is often delivered with injections or even an implantable pump.


Type 2 Diabetes

People with Type 2 Diabetes have insulin in their bodies but are unable to use insulin effectively. Over time, they become more and more insulin resistant, and their pancreas produces less and less insulin.


Like Type 1 Diabetes, if left untreated, people with diabetes can experience serious complications such as:

  • Nerve damage

  • Kidney failure

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Vision problems

  • Neuropathy, or nerve damage

  • Infections and non-healing wounds

  • Foot complications


Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and eating a healthy diet. Type 2 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in adults; however, more children are being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes due to the increased intake of high sugar foods and more time spent on sedentary activities like video games versus physical activity.

People with Type 2 Diabetes may need a combination of oral and injectable medications to get their blood glucose levels stable. Depending on the severity of their blood glucose levels, people with Type 2 Diabetes may be able to manage their disease with diet and exercise.


Rehab That Works


If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with Diabetes or have a relapse in your medical and physical condition, rehabilitation may help improve the daily function and activity desired. Our rehab team develops an individualized plan of care which can include restoring skills and abilities to perform daily tasks.


Additionally, rehabilitation includes nutritional counseling and other therapy modalities to manage medications and facilitate an optimal lifestyle. Advanced treatment techniques include virtual reality, technology, specialized equipment, and a hands-on approach by our treatment team. An intensive rehab treatment plan can help prevent future complications and hospitalizations such as non-healing wounds that could result in amputation, infections, and other organ disease or even organ failure.


Learn more about our full rehab services Rehabilitation Services | Milwaukee Rehab (milwaukee-rehabhospital.com)


Contact us today at Milwaukee Rehab Hospital to learn more on how we can help in your fight against diabetes.

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