Our certified diabetes educators at the Torrance Memorial Outpatient Diabetes Education Center are experts at providing you and your loved ones with comprehensive, personalized self-management education and support for all types of diabetes.
Services We Offer
Whether you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, or have had diabetes for a long time, we can help you better manage your symptoms. The diabetes educators at Torrance Memorial will create a personalized treatment plan and teach you how to:
- Monitor your blood glucose (blood sugar) with your prescribed meter
- Understand how your prescribed medications work in your body, and how to take your medications so they work most effectively to control your blood sugar
- Prevent spikes in your blood glucose (highs) and also prevent lows (hypoglycemia)
- Manage low and high blood glucose levels should they occur
- Plan healthy meals and snacks that fit into your lifestyle and satisfy your personal and cultural preferences, while helping keep your blood glucose levels stable
- Read food labels
- Strategize on how to increase your physical activity each day – this helps control your blood glucose too
- Set goals for losing weight, increasing activity and eating healthier
- Cultivate healthy coping
Find a Diabetes Class or Support Group
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 Diabetes
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 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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
Some of the common symptoms of diabetes are:
- frequent urination
- excessive thirst
- increased hunger
- unexplained weight loss
- blurred vision
- numbness or tingling in your feet or hands
- slow healing sores
- frequent gum, skin or urinary tract infections
- foot ulcers