What is a Diabetic?

During the last few days I have noticed questions coming in about what defines being a diabetic and thought I should take a moment and provide a definition.  Keep in mind that this is not my definition, but based on the definition provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Also, I offer my apology. I probably should have started with this.

The CDC describes diabetes as:

Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy.  Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood. This is why many people refer to diabetes as “sugar.”

Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

That’s a good description of diabetes, but to make it even more simple when you have diabetes there is too much glucose (sugar) in your blood.  That, folks, can lead to some serious problems if left untreated. You can read the complete article here.

The amount of sugar in your blood is measured through an A1c test which measures the average amount of glucose in your blood over the last approximately three months.  If you are interested, take a look at what the ADA has written about A1c tests.

What do those readings mean?  Well, normal (for those who do not have diabetes) is between 4.5 and 6.0.  Prediabetes is defined as having an A1c between 5.7 and 6.4.  If you test 6.5, or higher, on two tests, you probably have diabetes.  Just so you know I am not making this up,  take a look at what the Mayo Clinic writes about A1c test results.

To put this in perspective, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I had an A1c of 13 – kind of high.  Okay, very high and in every ‘red’ zone I have ever seen.  Three years later my A1c results are routinely between 5.9 and 6.1.  So, I know diabetes can be fought and controlled first hand.  And, I know you can do it.

So, if your A1c test results are between 5.7 and 6.4, you are probably being told by your doctor you have prediabetes, so take action and beat it!  Beat it before you are told you have diabetes.  If above 6.5, your doctor is probably telling you that you are a diabetic – now, you really have to take action.

What action do you take? Change your diet. Take your meds. Exercise 30 minutes a day.

You can beat diabetes.  You can control and manage it.  Do not let diabetes manage you!

As always, thank you for reading.  I wish the very best life for you.

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I am not a doctor or health professional. I am just a guy who is working everyday to control Type 2 Diabetes. My goal is to offer hope, help and solutions for day-to-day living for the diabetic. The disease can be controlled. It can be managed. And, you can do it!

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