Staff from HealthPartners Institute’s International Diabetes Center are very active in the community. They recently took part in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) walk at the Mall of America. They raised $1,020. IDC’s Dr. Anders Carlson appeared on KSTP to talk about groundbreaking artificial pancreas research. IDC staff members also answered viewer questions on two KSTP newscasts. You see part of the KSTP interview and also see the phone bank in the video.

Viewers asked many different questions but here are some of the most common ones with answers from IDC staff:

What causes diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that causes the level of glucose (a form of sugar) in your blood to get too high. Over time, high glucose levels can lead to health problems. Your body breaks down food you eat into glucose. Your bloodstream carries glucose to cells throughout your body. Cells need glucose to make the energy your body needs to function.

Insulin is needed to help glucose get into your cells. Your pancreas (an organ near your stomach) makes insulin. Insulin attaches to each cell in order for glucose to enter. Once the glucose is inside your cells, your body can use the glucose for energy.

Everyone has some glucose in their blood. But for people with diabetes, the amount of glucose is too high for one of the following 3 factors:

  • Insulin resistance. The cells do not let insulin attach to them properly.
  • Insulin deficiency. The pancreas makes no insulin or less insulin than normal.
  • Glucose overproduction. The liver makes too much glucose.

The result of these factors is less glucose enters the cells and instead builds up in the blood.

  • Muscle cells do not let glucose enter to be used for energy.
  • Pancreas makes no insulin or less insulin than normal.
  • Extra fat causes insulin resistance.
  • Liver makes too much glucose.

Type 2 diabetes

(formerly called Adult Onset Diabetes)

In Type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use insulin properly. Glucose has difficulty getting into the cells. To help get glucose into the cells, most people may need to take diabetes pills, noninsulin injectable medications, insulin, or a combination

Type 2 diabetes is most common in adults. However, the disease is becoming more common in teenagers and young adults.

Type 1 diabetes

(formerly called Juvenile Onset Diabetes)

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot make insulin. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day.

Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes because this disease seemed to happen more often in children than adults. However, Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The symptoms of Type 1 diabetes such as frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger and unexplained weight loss typically happen quickly. For many people with Type 2 diabetes, there may actually be no symptoms. People may feel tired and just explain it away by thinking they’re just getting older, or that family/work life has been stressful. Other symptoms of Type 2 diabetes that can sometimes occur include blurred vision, dry and itchy skin, infections, cuts and sores that do not heal, and numbness and tingling in the feet or hands.

What current research is happening for Type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

International Diabetes Center researches are involved in many exciting new treatments for people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. We just started a study for people with Type 2 diabetes who want to lose weight. We have several studies opening soon for people with Type 1 diabetes who would like to use the new insulin pumps, often called artificial pancreas. With all of our studies, supplies plus care and education are provided at no charge and oftentimes, there’s also a stipend paid to the participant.