Diabetes is a disease involving defects in the way the body uses glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream and organs. This involves insulin and other hormones.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, where the body mistakenly destroys cells in the pancreas (betacells) that produce insulin. This is more typically diagnosed in persons under the age of 20, but can occur at any age. Persons with type 1 diabetes need to go on insulin at the time of diagnosis.
Type 2 diabetes is more associate with obesity, where the body is resistant to the effect of insulin and other hormones. This is usually treated with oral medications at diagnosis, but many persons with type 2 diabetes will eventually need insulin. This is usually diagnosed in adults, but can also be seen in children.
Gestational Diabetes is diabetes of pregnancy. In some women, resistance to the effect of insulin occurs in pregnancy. This is usually treated with dietary management and sometimes insulin.
Prediabetes is a condition of abnormal blood sugar levels, but not abnormal enough to be diagnostic of diabetes. Persons with prediabetes are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Positive lifestyle changes (dietary, exercise) can significantly reduce the risk of converting to type 2 diabetes.
For more information from the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetes: Am I at risk?
People with pre-diabetes have blood glucose (blood sugar) levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. These individuals are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
By taking steps to prevent type 2 diabetes, you also lower your risk for possible complications of diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage and other health problems.
Many factors increase your risk for pre-diabetes. See which characteristics apply to you:
- 45 years of age or older
- Parent with diabetes
- Sister or brother with diabetes
- Family background that is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- Had diabetes when pregnant (gestational diabetes), or gave birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or more
- Participate in physical activity less than three times a week
If any of these apply to you, you may be at risk for pre-diabetes. Visit with your healthcare provider for ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes or any related conditions. You may also be a candidate for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Call 701.780.1838 to learn more about the program.
Altru Diabetes Center, founded in 1998, offers a full complement of treatments for type 1, type 2, and gestational (pregnancy) diabetes.
Our physicians, nurse practitioners, licensed registered dieticians, and certified diabetes educators work as a team to bring lifestyle, medications, and current technology including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring together to customize diabetes plans for children, adolescents, and adults.
Diabetes Self Management Education
Diabetes Self-Management Education is a complete review of diabetes pathophysiology and day-to-day management, plus instruction in self-monitoring of blood glucose. Done by a specially trained diabetes nurse educator. Diabetes Self-Management Education is recommended at least annually. Medicare covers Diabetes Self-Management Education for 10 hours the first year and 2 hours each year thereafter. Individual visits are recommended for all Type 1 patients and for follow-up education for Type 2 patients.
Medical Nutrition Therapy
Essential for diabetes management, medical nutrition therapy involves several different components. Initially, a thorough assessment of the patient's lifestyle and food history is completed. After the assessment, the dietitian uses their expertise to instruct patients on cutting edge, researched-based nutrition therapies. Lastly, the dietitian will work with you to create a meal plan, fit nutritional recommendations into your lifestyle and offer continued support as you make changes.
Altru’s Diabetes Center serves patients, families and providers in our region through education, leadership, advocacy, and research in diabetes, health promotion and preventive services. Our center offers treatment for type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes across the age spectrum. If you or a family member have diabetes, it is easy to arrange a visit at one of our center locations or talk with your health care provider and ask for a referral.
Altru's Diabetes Center Locations:
News and Technology
We offer financial assistance for patients diagnosed with prediabetes, gestational diabetes, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes and meet certain financial criteria. Assistance may be used for:
- clinical visits with provider, diabetic nurse educator or dietitian,
- weight management programming,
- prescription medications and
- travel to/from Altru.
Please complete the financial assistance application and email to Janet Sherette, Altru’s Diabetes Center Coordinator. With questions, please call 701.780.1838. Applications can also be mailed to:
Altru Health System, Diabetes Center
Attn: Janet Sherette
PO Box 6003
Grand Forks, ND 58206
You should expect to receive a reply to your financial assistance request within two weeks.
Learn more about financial assistance programs at Altru.