Learn the Lingo of Diabetes
A primer to help you get a grasp on the key issues of this complex illness.
Just the Facts
Sugar, which the body's cells use for immediate energy and stores for the future. After eating, blood glucose levels rise. Without insulin, blood glucose builds up in the blood.
A hormone, produced by the pancreas that helps move glucose from the bloodstream to the cells.
Diagnoses and Conditions
Type 1 Diabetes
An autoimmune disorder that requires insulin to control. The immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas so that the pancreas
produces little or no insulin. Formerly called juvenile diabetes, it often develops in childhood and accounts for 5 to 10 percent of diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
The most common form of diabetes (90 to 95 percent), in which the body fails to produce enough insulin or the body is insulin resistant; i.e., the cells don't use the insulin properly. Can be controlled with oral meds, or even reversed, with diet, weight loss and exercise.
A precursor of type 2 diabetes. When cells don't respond properly to the insulin that the body produces, sugar cannot move from the bloodstream to the cells. The pancreas produces extra insulin to compensate, but eventually it may be unable to do so.
Often a precursor to full-blown diabetes, but can be reversible with weight loss and a proper diet. Prediabetes is diagnosed when blood-sugar
levels are elevated but not yet defined as diabetic.
A cluster of conditions, including high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and a large midsection (fat deposits at the waistline), which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you're overweight your chances of developing diabetes is already elevated, but other factors increase your risk. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is above average if:
You're over age 45
You have a parent or sibling with diabetes
You are of Native Alaskan, American Indian, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Island descent.
You have high blood pressure
You have high LDL ("bad") cholesterol, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and/or high triglyceride levels
You exercise less than three times per week
You have had cardiovascular disease
You have been diagnosed with prediabetes
© 2006 Weight Watchers International, Inc. Reprinted with permission from Weight Watchers Magazine, November-December, 2006, volume 39