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Diabetes FAQs

Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

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Q:What is diabetes?

A:A metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar. Diabetes mellitus (commonly referred to as "diabetes," "sugar diabetes," or "type 2 diabetes") is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels that result from defects in insulin secretion, or action, or both.

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Q:Diabetes can be cured with diet, exercise, and medication. True or False?

A:False. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, meaning that although it can be controlled, it cannot be cured, and lasts a lifetime.

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Q:What are symptoms of diabetes?

A:Medically recognized symptoms of diabetes include increased or excessive thirst, increased hunger, dry mouth, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred or decreased vision, and headaches. Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include slow-healing sores or cuts, itching skin, vaginal infections, weight gain, numbness or tingling of the hands and feet, and impotence.

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Q:Insulin is a natural hormone secreted by which organ or gland?

A:The pancreas. Insulin is a natural hormone made by the pancreas that controls the level of the sugar glucose in the blood.

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Q:People who are obese are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. True or False?

A:True. Where you carry body fat is important. If fat builds up mostly around your stomach (sometimes called apple-shaped), you are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease than people who are lean or people with fat around the hips (sometimes called pear-shaped).

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Q:Prediabetes is considered a reversible condition. True or False?

A:True. Prediabetes, also known as "impaired glucose tolerance," is a condition that, as the name implies, can be considered an early yet potentially reversible stage in the development of type 2 diabetes.

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Q:Type 2 diabetes can cause long-term damage in the what parts of the body?

A:Kidneys, Eyes and Nerves. Type 2 diabetes can cause long-term damage in the kidneys, eyes, feet, nerves, and arteries.

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Q:What is gestational diabetes?

A: Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and affects about 4% of all pregnancies. It increases the risk of developing complications for both mother and baby.

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Q:People with diabetes are prone to infections. True or False?

A: Diabetes can slow down your body's ability to fight infection. High blood sugar (glucose) leads to high levels of sugar in your body's tissues. When this happens, bacteria grow and infections can develop more quickly in people with diabetes.

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Q:With type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. True or False?

A:True. Type 1 diabetes is brought on by the body's inability to make insulin. People with type 1 diabetes produce no insulin and must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar.

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Q:When the body does not respond to the insulin it makes, what type of diabetes is it?

A:Type 2 diabetes and Diabetes mellitus. Type 2 diabetes is also referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. With type 2 diabetes, people's bodies do not respond to the effects of insulin. People with type 2 diabetes do not require insulin injections because their bodies do make insulin but cannot process it properly.

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Q:What is a condition in which the kidneys are unable to conserve water?

A:Diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus is a condition in which the kidneys are unable to conserve water. This causes frequent urination. To make up for lost water, diabetics may feel the need to drink large amounts of fluids. This is different from the condition known as diabetes mellitus, in which blood glucose levels are elevated.

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