World Diabetes Day brings awareness, educates people

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Around the globe, people are taking Wednesday to recognize and bring awareness to those living with diabetes. November 14 is recognized around the globe as world Diabetes Day. Dr. Charles Steiner, with Tanana Valley Clinic, has devoted his career to educate and treat those with diabetes for over two decades.

"Diabetes is a metabolic condition that effects how your body handles glucose. Glucose is the major energy source in your body and it's primarily a product of digestion of carbohydrates, starches," Dr. Steiner said.

Carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, breads and various sugars.

"The problem with diabetes is we digest it fine, but we don't handle it fine, and therefore the sugar glucose builds up in tissues and causes problems," he said.

There are several types of diabetes, but the more common ones heard of are Type 1 and Type 2.

"Type 1 diabetes is a defect in the pancreas, where it doesn't make insulin. Which is your own body's hormone, the primary hormone that controls the glucose," he said.

Dr. Steiner says, Type 2 diabetes is the more commonly known diabetes that effects a larger population of people than Type 1.

"Type 2 diabetes effects the pancreas, so it doesn't read the blood sugar properly as it's going up and it does put out insulin, but maybe not enough insulin, so you have a different defect in the pancreas. And in the rest of your body, you have more insulin resistance, so the insulin you do make doesn't work effectively on a cellular level," he said.

Steiner says the signs and symptoms are generally the same whether they are Type 1 or 2. The symptoms normally come from high blood sugar that can cause low energy, endurance, weight loss, and frequent urination.

"Dr.'s talk about frequent urination, eating a lot, losing weight. That should raise the question."

Dr. Steiner says that genetics have been linked to Type 2 diabetes, but does not determine whether or not you are going to get diabetes. He says there are two preventative measures you can take.

"The major life style interventions are staying active or fit, avoiding becoming overweight or obesity. Those are the two things," he said.

The intention of World Diabetes Day is to highlight the problems that occur with diabetes and the treatments, as well as, recognize the accomplishments of those living with diabetes every day.