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Prisma Health On Call: Answers to your diabetes questions

You asked — and Prisma Health’s diabetes experts answered.

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COLA-GVL.Prisma Health diabetes-12.20.23

See what Prisma Health diabetes experts have to say about diabetes.

Photo provided by Prisma Health

Table of Contents

Did you know 13% of South Carolina’s adult population has diabetes — and nearly 35% has prediabetes? That makes up nearly half (or almost 2 million) of our state’s population.

That’s why in this month’s installment of Prisma Health On Call we called in Prisma Health’s diabetes experts to answer your questions about the different types of diabetes, gestational diabetes risks, preventing Type 2, and more.

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes typically occurs in younger people and is diagnosed early on, though it can occur at any age. It is an autoimmune disease where the body cannot produce a hormone called insulin, which normally regulates blood sugar and enables the body to convert it into energy. No lifestyle changes can be made to prevent Type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease of diet and lifestyle. It often occurs when you are taking in a lot of fats or sugars that don’t allow your body to function well. Type 2 diabetes can be preventable.

I heard that diabetes can cause memory loss. Is that true and, if so, is there any treatment that can help?

Diabetes can impact a variety of health issues, including memory loss, but with proper management, these issues can be prevented or delayed.

Can Type 2 diabetes be cured or reversed?

Prediabetes can be reversed (key word: pre). There is a lot of discussion about diabetes remission, but diabetes cannot be reversed. Watch this video for tips on how to manage diabetes.

I had gestational diabetes that resolved post-pregnancy. Am I more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes?

If you had gestational diabetes, there is a 50% increased risk you’ll develop Type 2 diabetes within your lifetime. But this can be prevented by continuing a healthy lifestyle such as eating a balanced diet and exercising at least five times a week for 20-30 minutes.

I have prediabetes — how do I stop it from turning into diabetes?

A key first step is improving your lifestyle through healthy eating and physical activity. Weight can also be a contributing factor, and losing just 5–7% of your body weight and getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week can prevent Type 2 diabetes. Learn how Prisma Health’s free Diabetes Prevention Program can help.

Why are people no longer diabetic after gastric Y surgery? Is there anything similar for people who are not 100 pounds overweight?

Losing weight can result in diabetes remission, whether it’s accomplished through surgery, medicine, or lifestyle changes. Typically, it takes a combination of these efforts.

What diet choices can I make to prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes?

There are many diets or meal plans that are helpful in preventing Type 2 diabetes, including the Mediterranean diet, a plant-based or vegetarian diet, and low or very low carbohydrate diets.

You can also use the plate method: Using a nine-inch plate, fill half of it with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with a protein, and another quarter of the plate with a starch. This is a great place to start.

For those who want an individualized meal plan that incorporates your food preferences, Prisma Health Diabetes Education offers medical nutrition therapy, which is like a nutrition prescription.

My cousin in Germany has what they call Type 3 diabetes. What is that and how does it differ from Type 1 or 2?

Researchers have used the term “Type 3 diabetes” to describe diabetes’ connection to Alzheimer’s disease — but it is not an official clinical diagnosis in the US.

A big thanks to the Prisma Health clinicians who contributed their expertise and knowledge: Jacqui Jones, MD; Elise LeBel, MD; Wes Love, MD; John Scott, MD; Mary Agostino, NP; Celia Beauchamp, RD; Brittany Maffett, DNP; Pamela Schult, NP; Michelle Stancil, RN.

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Do you or does someone you know have diabetes or prediabetes? Let us know.

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