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Information on Diabetes

If you are living with diabetes, you are not alone!

  • 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes
  • Approximately 467,638 people in Kentucky have diabetes
  • Nearly 1 in 11 people have diabetes
  • Diabetes is an epidemic: 1 out of 3 people may develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long term) incurable disease that affects the way your body uses carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Diabetes happens when an organ in our body called the pancreas doesn’t make a hormone called insulin at all, or like it once did. Our body uses insulin to help get the blood sugar out of the blood vessels and into the body’s many cells for energy. 

When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, blood sugar begins to build up in the blood vessel, which can cause problems inside the body such as nerve damage in the feet, heart, kidneys, eyes, and/or stomach.  Along with other complications such as periodontal disease, impotence, and hearing impairment.  

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

Somewhere between 1980-1995, an international expert committee came up with the terms Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Prior to that diabetes was often referred to as childhood, or insulin dependent diabetes OR adult onset, or non-insulin dependent diabetes. This was mainly due to the fact that up until the middle of the 20th century people who were usually only diagnosed with diabetes when they were young or when they were much older.

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (Previously called Childhood or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus)

  • Approximately 10% of the diabetic population in America is diagnosed with this type of diabetes.
  • It’s considered an autoimmune disorder similar to lupus, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis.  The body attacks all of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas and the body can no longer create any of its own. 
  • Require insulin injections immediately
  • Type 2 does not eventually turn into Type 1.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (Previously called Adult Onset or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus)

  • Approximately 90% of the diabetic population in America is diagnosed with this type of diabetes.
  • It can be controlled with diet and exercise, and if necessary oral medications.
  • It’s genetic
  • It’s affected by lifestyle choices, mainly inactivity and weight, 80-90% of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are classified as overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis. 
  • Pancreas still makes insulin but not enough, or the body can’t use it the way it’s supposed to, due to body weight gain.  Research indicates patients might require insulin injections eventually, especially if they don’t change eating habits and activity levels. 
  • Weight loss and exercise will help CONTROL this type of diabetes, meaning less help from oral medicine. Many people with Type 2 diabetes can control it with diet changes and exercise alone, once they have been educated. Click here for more information about our classes.


How do I know if I have diabetes?

Find out if you are at risk. Take this free risk assessment test online.

If you are at risk, and/or are experiencing any of the symptoms, then see your doctor to have blood work done. If you do test positive for diabetes (see table below), make sure to get educated about how to control it.

Testing for diabetes chart

*Source: Adapted from American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes—2012. Diabetes Care. 2012;35(Supp 1):S12, table 2.


Physician Referrals

A physician referral is required for all nutrition services to aid with billing coverage. Download a referral form to take to your physician. For additional information, please contact our office at 502-210-4203.