Actions can delay onset of some diabetes

March 01, 2004

There are 18.2 million people in the United States with diabetes and about one-third of them do not know they have it.

A person with diabetes has too much glucose or sugar in their blood. According to registered nurse Susan Akridge, program manager of Robinwood Endocrinology, the body needs glucose for energy. But too much glucose in the blood is dangerous to a person's health.

Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into the energy needed for daily life. With diabetes, the body does not produce or properly use insulin.

There are different kinds of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetes results from the body's failure to make insulin. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of people with diabetes have Type 1.

  • Type 2 is the most common form, and results from insulin resistance combined with insulin deficiency; approximately 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2.

  • Gestational diabetes affects about 4 percent of all pregnant women, and results when pregnant women who have never had diabetes before have high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

  • When a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, they are said to have pre-diabetes. In addition to the 18.2 million people with diabetes, there are an estimated 20.1 million people with pre-diabetes.

Research has shown that if people take action to manage their blood glucose when they have pre-diabetes, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed.


Diabetes will be a continuing topic for the next few weeks. Look for information next week on what you can do to tell if you have pre-diabetes, and how to halt the progression to Type 2.

Christine L. Moats is a wellness coordinator at Washington County Hospital.

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