Our certified diabetes educators at Torrance Memorial’s Outpatient Diabetes Education Center are experts at providing you and your loved ones with comprehensive, personalized diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) for all types of diabetes. Our program is certified by the American Diabetes Association.

We deliver world class diabetes education services, support and care here at Torrance Memorial. Whether you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, or have had diabetes for a long time, we can help you better manage your diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that is diagnosed when you have high levels of glucose (sugar) in your blood. The glucose from food we eat, is supposed to go into your cells so your body has enough energy to work properly. Insulin is needed to help move the glucose from your bloodstream and into your cells for energy. Insulin is made in the pancreas. When your pancreas does not make enough insulin, or your body does not respond to insulin when it is present, or if your pancreas makes no insulin at all, it results in too much glucose in the blood and not enough getting into the other cells in your body for it to use for energy.

High levels of blood glucose results in damage to different parts of the body such as the blood vessels, eyes, brain, heart, kidneys, nerves, gums, legs and feet, and increases your risk of developing a variety of infections. This damage can cause blindness, kidney failure, neuropathy, increase your risk for having a heart attack, stroke, and amputations.

There are different types of diabetes, however, the symptoms are similar.

Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 – This type is diagnosed if your pancreas makes no insulin at all. It results when your immune system destroys the cells (beta cells) in your pancreas that make insulin. This used to be called juvenile onset diabetes, as it typically occurs in children and younger adults; however, it is now known that type 1 diabetes can occur in people at any age – even adults. Approximately 5% of all diabetes cases in the U.S. are type 1 diabetes (T1D).
  • Type 2 – This type is diagnosed when your pancreas does not make enough insulin or your body is not using the insulin it has, in an effective way. This used to be called adult onset diabetes. While most people with type 2 diabetes are middle-aged and older adults, we now know that type 2 diabetes can sometimes occur in adolescents. About 95% of all cases of diabetes in the U.S. are type 2 diabetes (T2D). By far, type 2 diabetes is the most common diabetes of all.
  • Gestational – Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) occurs in some women during pregnancy. Women who have gestational diabetes are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later. It’s important to control blood glucose levels during pregnancy, as high glucose (sugar) levels in the mother’s bloodstream, can cause many serious health problems for both mom and her unborn baby.
  • Prediabetes – If your physician diagnoses you with prediabetes, it’s because your blood glucose levels are higher than what is considered normal, but lower than the amount needed for a diagnosis of diabetes to be made. As time goes on, and without making lifestyle changes, you can develop T2D.

Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of diabetes are:

  • frequent urination
  • excessive thirst
  • increased hunger
  • unexplained weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • fatigue
  • numbness or tingling in your feet or hands
  • slow healing sores
  • frequent gum, skin or urinary tract infections
  • foot ulcers

What Causes Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is caused by an attack from your immune system against the cells in your pancreas (called beta cells) that make insulin. The exact reason why this happens is not known. Scientists think this is likely to occur due to a combination of your heredity (genes) and your environment. Researchers think that a virus may trigger the process in the body that stimulates the immune system to attack the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, which causes them to stop working.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of one’s heredity (family genes), race and ethnicity, along with lifestyle choices such as being overweight or obese, carrying excess weight, especially in the abdomen (tummy), not getting enough exercise, and eating an unhealthy diet. Increasing age raises the risk of developing T2D.

Gestational diabetes is triggered by pregnancy in some (but not all) women. Scientists are not sure why some women develop it and others don’t, but some of the common factors that raise the risk for a pregnant woman to develop gestational diabetes are: carrying excess weight or being obese, being older than age 25, already having prediabetes, and having a family history of T2D.

The risk factors for developing prediabetes are similar to T2D; being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, eating an unhealthy diet, along with your genes (heredity).

For more information about the Diabetes Outpatient Education Center, please call 310-891-6707.