Learn About Diabetes


What is Diabetes?

Glucose, or blood sugar, is a simple sugar and the body’s preferred energy source. It’s different from sucrose, which is more commonly known as table sugar. In order for our body to utilize glucose, we need insulin – which is secreted by our pancreas. When you eat food, beta cells in our pancreas are alerted and ordered to secrete insulin. Insulin acts as a “key” for glucose, allowing it into our cells.

Diabetes occurs when our body is unable to produce sufficient insulin, or when our cells no longer respond to insulin. Instead of being utilized by our cells, glucose stays in our blood stream. This is where the phrase “high blood sugar” comes from. High blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, can cause long term complications if not adequately managed. These can include heart failure, kidney failure, as well as damage to the eyes, skin, feet, and other organs.

Do I Have Diabetes?

Despite being a relatively healthy state, Hawaii too has felt the effects of diabetes. While diabetes can lead to serious health concerns, nearly 1 in 4 Americans living with diabetes do not realize they have diabetes. Who is most at risk? Those who have obesity, family history of diabetes, as well as certain minority groups are more susceptible to diabetes. In fact, nearly 1 in 2 adults living in Hawaii has diabetes or pre-diabetes. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and include hunger, thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, and blurred vision. If you experience these symptoms, make sure to schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.

Living With Diabetes

Despite the challenges of living with diabetes, there are an increasing amount of resources designed to help those with diabetes live healthy and happy lives. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases publishes four steps to help diabetics make wise choices for their diabetes care.

Step 1: Learn About Diabetes

Understanding your diabetes can help you manage your symptoms. When your blood glucose levels are normal, you’ll have more energy, fewer skin and bladder infections, and decreased thirst. You’ll also lower your risk for long term complications caused by high blood sugars.

Ask your physician what you can do to manage your diabetes, and create a health care team designed around your success. This can include a diabetic educator, a mental health counselor, a dietitian, an eye doctor, and more.

Step 3: Learn how to live with diabetes.

Diabetes can cause us to feel stressed, overwhelmed, or angry. Stress can cause us to struggle with our wellness goals – and it can also cause increases in our blood sugar. Access to a medical social worker, behavioral health therapist, and stress management classes can help us learn to cope with the challenges of diabetes. 

An active life style, healthy meal plan, and regular stress management can help you better manage your blood sugar levels. 


Diabetes Tips provided by
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Step 2: Know Your Diabetes ABCs

A stands for A1C levels – a measure of your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. It is different from your daily blood sugar test. High levels of blood sugar can harm your eyes, feet, heart and kidneys.

B stands for blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it may cause increased stress on the heart. A good level is below 140/90.

C stands for cholesterol. If your cholesterols are over a certain level, you may need to take statins to reduce your cholesterol level.

Step 4: Get routine care to stay healthy.

See your health care team at least twice a year to find and treat any problems early.

At each visit, be sure you have a: blood pressure check, foot check, weight check, and review of your self-care plan

Two times each year, have an: A1C test. It may be checked more often if it is over 7.

Once each year, be sure you have a: cholesterol test, complete foot exam, dental exam to check teeth and gums, dilated eye exam to check for eye problems, flu shot, urine and a blood test to check for kidney problems

How Can I Prevent or Reverse the Effects of Diabetes?

‘Ekahi WellNess on kitv

In this video, our Clinical Care Manager Blair Grant discusses what we’re trying to do at ‘Ekahi Wellness to help individuals with diabetes live healthier, happier lives.

Stay tuned for more educational content on how you can better manage your diabetes!