Top facts to know about diabetes: symptoms, risks, prevention & (thank goodness) new technologies for diabetes management.

Top facts to know about diabetes: symptoms, risks, prevention & (thank goodness) new technologies for diabetes management.

The Doris A. Howell Foundation will be kicking off its lecture series on February 8th with the presentation “Women and Diabetes: Use of digital technologies in diabetes management” with key note speaker Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD. Please visit to register for the event.

With a significant number of diagnosed and under/un-diagnosed diabetic and pre-diabetic Americans (close to 10% of the population), creating awareness of the symptoms, risk factors and management strategies becomes increasingly necessary.

The result of the body’s inability to produce or respond to insulin creates abnormal metabolic function, resulting in too much sugar in the blood. The classifications of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 diabetes: A chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes: A chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose).
  • Pre-diabetes: A condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes: A form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women.
The most common symptoms of diabetes are well known: going to the bathroom often, a feeling of thirst or hunger,  extreme fatigue, blurry vision, long healing periods of cuts and bruises, and tingling and pain in hands or feet.  Also common are the symptom similarities between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, leading to confusion between both types.  People considered pre-diabetics need to be mindful of possible symptoms that might be present but silent.  If there is suspicion based on any of the symptoms, physicians typically check glucose levels during routine check ups.
As for the common risk factors, the list includes tobacco use, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Of concern is the role that obesity plays in the development of diabetes. The latest report from the CDC shows a staggering growth of obesity and
its relationship to the diagnosis of diabetes cases:


Chart showing USA with Obesity and Diabetes prevalence from 1994 to 2015 - Diabetes Management


Diabetes is a serious illness that can progress to kidney disease, and can lead to blindness, amputations, and be fatal.  There are many actions to prevent and manage diabetes; nutrition, exercise and loosing weight among the most recommended. Specialists agree: a simple lifestyle change can go a long way to keep your levels of glucose at a safe level.

“It isn’t so much that diabetes is silent, it’s more not knowing what is wrong; figuring out why one has extreme fatigue, and literally feels the body shutting down”, comments Susan Wells.  “Puncturing oneself to test our blood sugar levels is something one needs to get used to doing in a daily routine”.

Fortunately, for diagnosed diabetic Americans, technology is developing mechanisms that can help manage diabetes.  We are especially excited about our speaker, Dr. Athena-Philis-Tsimikas, as she will be discussing new technology aides in the management of the disease.  If you haven’t registered already, visit

In an article from Scripps, Dr.Tsimikas comments that “the convenience of new diabetes management technologies have made it easier to manage glucose levels by making the experience less painful and more convenient. Glucose levels determine how much insulin or other medication is needed.  An alarm tells me if it’s too high, if it’s too low, if I’m in the danger zone,” Dr. Tsimikas said.


Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD Diabetes Management Speaker

Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD is the Corporate Vice President of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute at Scripps Health and the Director of Community Engagement at Scripps Translational Science Institute in San Diego, California.

With over 25 years of experience, she leads the Diabetes Care Line which creates programs, conducts research and delivers diabetes services across 5 Scripps hospitals, 25 outpatient facilities and the community which serves over 50,000 patients with diabetes.

Dr. Tsimikas is board certified in the sub specialty of Diabetes and Endocrinology and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSD’s Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. She developed and implemented the innovative Project Dulce program which cares for under served populations with diabetes. Dr. Philis-Tsimikas and Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute are actively promoting and training community physicians and community health centers to participate in community-based clinical research that will bring innovative health care and diabetes management solutions to their communities.

If you have time, this interview is worth the watch!  See you on February 8th! 


About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community.


Information prepared by Carolyn Northrup with information from the following sources:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email