According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. That’s an epidemic. While you can take steps to avoid the disease, you must take steps to monitor it once you have it. Talk to an experienced doctor and nutritionist at Century Medical and Dental Center, a multi-disciplinary practice that brings together many specialists to better serve your needs. Call today for an appointment.
Your body uses blood glucose, which is a type of sugar, as energy. Blood glucose comes from the food you eat. A group of diseases called diabetes mellitus affects how your body uses glucose. As the energy source for your body’s cells, glucose helps your tissues, muscles and brain function correctly. If that system goes out of balance, it leads to serious health repercussions.
Two main types of diabetes exist, but with both, your body doesn’t process glucose correctly. Although some forms of diabetes — such as prediabetes or gestational diabetes — are usually reversible once diagnosed, you need to continue disease management for life. Visit an accomplished internist at Century Medical and Dental Center in Brooklyn for your diabetes treatment.
Symptoms Requiring Diabetes Treatment
Your level of symptoms often indicates the amount of excess sugar in your bloodstream. Some of the more common signs of diabetes include:
- Constant and extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss, even with the increased eating
- Increased need for liquids
- Increased urination
- Irritability and fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Urinalysis showing increased ketos in your urine, the byproduct of your muscles and fat breaking down
- Sores that won’t heal quickly or properly
- Infections on your skin or gums that keep returning
The two chronic types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes may develop at any age, but childhood and adolescence are the most common times for it to appear. Type 2 diabetes is more common. It may develop at any point as well, but individuals older than 40 seem most susceptible.
Causes of Diabetes
To understand the disease, you have to understand the role of glucose and insulin as sources of energy for your body. Insulin secretes from the pancreas located below your stomach. This hormone acts as the doorman for your cells, allowing sugar to enter. Sugar enters the cells and acts as energy, and the overall level of glucose in the blood lowers or remains steady. As your body uses up the blood sugar, your pancreas secretes less insulin.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes isn’t known, but your immune system’s signals go awry and begin attacking insulin cells instead of the normal harmful viruses and bacteria. Sugar can’t enter the cells without insulin, and it begins building up in the blood. Genetics and environment may play a part in the development of type 1 diabetes.
With type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, your cells start resisting the insulin. The pancreas isn’t able to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance, so the sugar builds in your bloodstream. Environment and genetics also play a part in type 2 diabetes development, but being overweight is strongly linked as well.
Risk Factors for Diabetic Conditions
Though the type of your diabetes reflects certain risk factors, some of the more common indicators include:
- Type 1 diabetes Genetics, family history and environmental factors, such as exposure to certain viruses that damage the immune system, play a part in developing type 1 diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes. Multiple factors link to type 2 diabetes — including obesity, family history, lack of exercise, age or a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Gestational diabetes. Family history and obesity play a role. Women who get pregnant when they’re older and women of non-Caucasian background also seem more susceptible to developing gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.
If you don’t treat diabetes, you may develop nerve damage, eye damage, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, skin conditions or foot damage. Those who develop gestational diabetes may be concerned about low blood sugar, their baby’s growth or the child developing type 2 diabetes later in life. If the disease is severe enough, your baby may not survive it, either before or shortly after birth.
Your doctor in Brooklyn diagnoses your condition through a diabetes test called a urinalysis or with a diabetic blood test to check your glucose levels. Your treatment plan can be tailored to address not only the diabetes itself, but also subsequent symptoms. Effective diabetic treatment includes:
- A healthful diet. Give your body the tools it needs to maintain proper glucose balance. Switch to a diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Work with a nutritionist to get the correct proportion of foods, while lowering the number of calories to reduce or maintain your weight.
- Physical activity. Weight management also requires a certain amount of physical activity on a regular basis. With your doctor’s permission, try to do some swimming, biking or walking daily.
- Monitor your blood sugar. It’s absolutely vital that you monitor your blood sugar to prevent glycemic shock, which can do serious harm. Continuous monitoring means using a glucose monitor on a routine basis, as well as the A1C test your doctor administers every three to six months.
- Regular insulin injections. Depending on how well your new diet controls your blood sugar, your doctor may decide regular insulin works best. This usually occurs through an injection or pump.
- Other treatment options. Your doctor may consider oral medications, a pancreatic transplant, diabetic neuropathy treatment or bariatric surgery to control your weight.
Diabetes is a complex disease requiring constant monitoring and attention. Your Century Medical and Dental Center doctor helps you find the best way to manage your symptoms. Contact your physicians in Downtown Brooklyn today.