Millions of people live every day with a disease that can be treated but not cured.

More than 18 million people in the U.S. were diagnosed with diabetes as of early 2011, according to the American Diabetes Association.

“Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to use the insulin produced by the pancreas correctly, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body produces no insulin,” said Darren Waters, Aiken Regional Medical Centers’ Diabetes & Nutrition Teacher Center clinical director.

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas’s beta cells and is what your body needs to use glucose – sugar cells use from the food you eat – for energy.

There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational.

Type 1 is usually found in children and young adults and occurs when the body doesn’t produce insulin, according to the ADA.

Therefore, these diabetics must have insulin injections, according to Waters.

Type 2, the most commonly diagnosed type, occurs when the body does not either produce insulin or the cells ignore it.

These patients can be treated with medicine or insulin, Waters said.

Gestational diabetes happens when a women is pregnant. Insulin injections may be used for their treatment, Waters said.

Following a designed meal plan, losing weight and exercising are other treatment options for each type.

“Diabetes treatment is determined by the type of diabetes diagnosed,” Waters said.

In April, the diabetes association recognized the Diabetes & Nutrition Teacher Center for its educational services; it also recognized the center in April 2000.

“DNTC was the first diabetes program in the CSRA to obtain this accreditation,” Waters said. “The current reaccreditation confirmed that DNTC continues to meet the Standards of Care mandated by the ADA.”

The center’s purpose is to work with patients and their primary care providers to best manage patients’ diabetes.

Through the work of registered dietitians, nutritionists, certified diabetic educators and registered nurses, the centers offers counseling and plans for better nutrition.

A diabetes support group meets at H. Odell Weeks Activities Center at 3 p.m., the second Tuesday in January, February, March, April, May, September and October.

The public is invited to the yearly “Dining with Diabetes” luncheon in November.

Warning signs that you may have Type 1 diabetes include frequent urination, extreme thirst or hunger, unexpected weight loss, fatigue and irritation.

Warning signs for Type 2 diabetes include frequent infections – namely with your skin, gums or bladder – vision problems, slowly healing cuts or bruises, tingling or numbness in your hands or feet or any of the symptoms for Type 1 diabetes.

However, you might not experience any symptoms and have Type 2 or gestational diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Watching your cholesterol intake, keeping a healthy blood pressure, exercising and not smoking help lower your risk of developing diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Aiken Regional Medical Centers’ Diabetes & Nutrition Teacher Center is located at 440 Society Hill Drive, Suite 204.

For more information, call 803-293-0023 or visit or

Stephanie Turner has a hand on all areas of production for the Aiken Standard, where she reports, edits and designs pages. She graduated in July 2012 with a journalism degree from Valdosta State University and lives with her family in Evans, Ga.