Diabetes is a condition where you have elevated blood sugar. There are tests you can take to determine if you have the disease.
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Diabetes: What is it? Dr. Kim Pugh: Diabetes is condition when you have an elevated blood sugar. Generally if you have fasting blood sugar of 126 or greater, on two occasions you have diabetes. Then you can also have another test, which is a two hour glucose tolerance test and after two hours, your blood sugar is over 200, you have diabetes. In addition, if you have a random blood sugar of over 200 and characteristic symptoms, you are considered to have diabetes. So it's really basically based on elevated blood sugar. Diabetes: Is it hard to detect and diagnose? Dr. Kim Pugh: Well, it's generally not very hard to detect that you generally will get a fasting blood sugar, so if the fasting blood sugar is high. As blood sugars do go up after you eat, but there is certain criteria that will kind of distinguish whether you have diabetes or not. But it really doesn't happen overnight. So you really have to repeat a blood sugar, because sometimes blood sugars aren't always that accurate like if you are on a setting when you are sick or you've actually been eating the wrong foods. I had one gentleman came in and he basically had over -- and essentially put himself in a diabetic state. He eliminated the beverages and no longer was diabetic. Diabetes: Why is it dangerous? Dr. Kim Pugh: Well, diabetes is dangerous because over a long period of time, that have blood sugar changes within your blood system and basically that aggravates problems such as small vessel complications, large vessel complications, I mean it can cause heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, it can also certainly precipitate strokes, heart disease. Vast majority of people with Type 2 diabetes die from cardiovascular complications. This does not -- certainly does not happen overnight but it's a long-term complication, which is hard to recognize. Diabetes can be deadly. Insulin was founded in 1922 and before that diabetes Type 1 was a lethal disease, not unlike Type 2, which is not a lethal disease. So if you develop Type 2 diabetes, and you modify your diet, your exercise, you can actually reverse the diabetes. That's not to say that you won't be diabetic if you go out and gain weight, you eat wrong, but generally you can normalize your blood sugars. Diabetes: Is it difficult to determine the role that diabetes plays in other diseases and complications? Dr. Kim Pugh: Certain diseases like cardiovascular disease wherein so many other factors come into play like hypertension, cholesterol, it is certainly difficult to tease out. What it does is it basically adds fuel to the fire. They certainly have done many, many studies and they do recognize that diabetes is a huge risk factor and comes into play. As far as some complications like retinopathy, nephropathy, which is kidney disease, neuropathy, we know with that adept at how blood sugar is over an extended period of time come into play because you know diabetes is a leading cause for lower extremity amputation, for loss of vision.