Ask the Expert

Type 2 Diabetes has been in the news again since Paul Deen, Southern cooking queen, announced in January that she was diagnosed three years ago. Experts say one in three adults are at risk of developing diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Linda Braud, who works at Woman’s Hospital, answers a few questions about this chronic condition that can be controlled, but not cured.

Q: What is diabetes?

A: It’s a condition that develops when the pancreas does not make enough insulin or when the body cannot utilize the insulin that is produced. It causes a rise in blood sugar levels.

Q: What are

the risk factors?

A: There are several.

Family history

Age (over 45)

Being overweight

Being inactive

High blood pressure

High cholesterol and/or

triglycerides

Certain ethnic backgrounds (African American, Hispanic, and Native American people have a higher incidence of diabetes.)

Q: What are

the symptoms?

Common symptoms include: frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, frequent infections, poor wound healing, dry skin, unexplained weight loss, and numbness or tingling in the hands, legs, and feet.

(Not everyone has all of these symptoms, and some people do not have any.)

Q: How is it treated?

A: It is treated according to how high your blood sugar levels are and according to the kind of diabetes you have (Type I, Type II, or gestational diabetes). The four major elements of control are: meal planning (usually counting carbohydrates), exercise, medications (as needed), and blood sugar testing.