Internal Medicine

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough, or any insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and other issues. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Symptoms

  • increased thirst and urination
  • increased hunger
  • fatigue
  • blurred vision
  • numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • sores that do not heal
  • unexplained weight loss

Types

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

·  Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

· Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant.

· Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

· Other types of diabetes

Less common types include monogenic diabetes, which is an inherited form of diabetes, and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes .

Reduce the Risk

Research shows that you can do a lot to reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. This includes:

  • Lose weight and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week.  Start slowly to build up to your goal.
  • Eat healthy. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day and help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

Prediabetes

Prediabetes is when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Having prediabetes is serious because it raises your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Many of the same factors that raise your chance of developing type 2 diabetes put you at risk for prediabetes. You won’t know if you have prediabetes unless you are tested. If you have prediabetes, you can lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Lose weight if you need to, become more physically active, and follow a reduced-calorie eating plan.

Treatment

Controlling blood sugar through diet, oral medications, or insulin is the main treatment. Regular screening for complications is also required.

When to see your doctor

Your primary care provider can diagnose diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes through blood tests. The blood tests show if your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Testing equipment that you can buy over the counter, such as a blood glucose meter, cannot diagnose diabetes. Testing at your doctor’s office allows health care professionals to find diabetes sooner and work with you to manage diabetes and prevent complications. After you receive your diagnosis, you’ll need close medical follow-up until your blood sugar levels stabilize. If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, book your appointment online to schedule a visit with a CareMount Medical primary care provider.