FAQ about Diabetes

diabetes intro


This month at Weigh to Wellness Denver we will be focusing on diabetes management. Here are some FAQ about diabetes management that might help clear up some questions you may have.

What is the difference between Type I diabetes and Type II diabetes?

Type 1 diabetics are not able to produce the insulin they need to regulate their blood glucose levels. The majority of type 1 diabetics are diagnosed earlier in life, usually before the age of 40.  Type 1 diabetics usually have to use lifelong insulin injections to manage their blood glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetes is usually described as a state of insulin resistance.  This means that your body no longer uses the insulin it produces efficiently.  Type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medications or injectable insulin along with diet and lifestyle changes.  There are many possible ways that someone can develop insulin resistance:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Genetics
  • High calorie/refined sugar diet
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • PCOS

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that is secreted after eating a meal or snack that has carbohydrates in it.  Insulin is what takes the glucose from your blood stream and takes it either to the cells of your body to be used as energy or takes it to your fat cells or liver to be stored for energy at a later time.  As mentioned previously, type 1 diabetics can no longer produce their own insulin and need to get it from injections while type 2 diabetics are not using the insulin they produce efficiently.

Ultimately, it’s important to know that insulin is essential for blood glucose management.


What is a normal fasting blood glucose range?

Normal fasting blood glucose levels fall between 70-100mg/dl

Normal Hemoglobin A1C (HBA1c)  range is 4-5.6%

How is Diabetes diagnosed?

Type I and Type II diabetes can be diagnosed with simple blood tests. The tests being looked at are your blood glucose levels or your HBA1C levels.  Usually these tests will be done twice before a diagnosis of diabetes can be made.

A resulting blood glucose level of 200 mg/dl or more during a non-fasting blood draw can result in a diagnosis of diabetes.

A resulting blood glucose level of >126 mg/dl in a fasting blood draw can indicate a diagnosis of diabetes.

HBA1C levels of 4 – 5.6% are considered normal. A result of 5.7-6.0% can indicate prediabetes.  A result >6.5% indicate diabetes.

HbA1c Percentages1

Physical symptoms of high blood sugar levels:

  • Increased thirst or hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue, nausea or vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Uncontrolled weight loss

If you experience some of these symptoms please visit your primary care physician as soon as possible to have the above blood tests completed.  Very high blood glucose levels can be fatal if not treated.

What types of food affect my blood sugar levels?

All carbohydrates will effect your blood glucose levels when consumed. Carbohydrates are any foods that break down into glucose in your body once digested. There are some carbohydrates that are healthier for you then others.  A good rule of thumb is to limit any added or refined sugars in your diet.

Examples of Carbohydrates:

  • Fruits
  • Flour products: crackers, bread, pastries, etc.
  • Whole grains: rice, quinoa, faro.
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, peas, corn
  • Anything made from sugar or honey

carb better

What are ways to help control diabetes?

Proper diet and exercise can go a long way in controlling your blood glucose levels.  There are also multiple medications available to aide in diabetes management. Remember to get the recommended 10,000 steps per day.  It’s also recommended to get 210 minutes of physical activity weekly.  Another way to help manage your diabetes is regular blood glucose testing at home with a glucose monitor. Knowing how your blood glucose levels are trending helps you better control your diet and medications.  It is also important to get regular blood draws of your HBA1C to see how well your blood glucose levels are being controlled over time.  Remember to follow your doctor’s recommendations and prescriptions when it comes to your diabetes management.

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Please feel free to comment on this blog if there are some questions about diabetes that you have been itching to have answered.