Diabetes Q & A
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a common condition, but not always well understood. It’s actually a group of conditions that affect how your body uses or produces the hormone insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps transport glucose from the food you eat into your cells for energy. Without enough insulin or the ability to process it, your blood sugar remains high, which can lead to serious complications.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. Your immune system attacks the cells in your pancreas responsible for producing insulin until you don’t produce any at all. Usually diagnosed in childhood or young adulthood, Type 1 diabetics need to take supplemental insulin.
With Type 2 diabetes, you produce insulin, but not enough or your body just doesn’t effectively use the insulin you do produce. Type 2 diabetes is more common and is often diagnosed among middle-aged and older adults; more and more children and young adults are being diagnosed with the condition, however, due to poor lifestyle habits.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
The symptoms of diabetes vary, depending on the type you have and how high your blood sugar rises. You may experience:
Excessive thirst and/or hunger
Unexplained weight loss (with Type 1)
Numbness in the hands and feet, or peripheral neuropathy
Irritability and fatigue
Usually, symptoms of Type 2 diabetes develop gradually; you may not even know you have it. Type 1 diabetes symptoms usually occur more suddenly.
How is diabetes diagnosed and treated?
A thorough review of your medical and family history as well as blood test screenings help the doctors at Sole Health Medical Center diagnose diabetes. If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you receive a customized treatment plan that includes things like:
Lifestyle recommendations for proper diet and exercise
Medications like metformin (Type 2 diabetes)
Insulin injections or pump (Type 1 diabetes)
The doctors provide regular appointment checkups to manage your blood sugar levels and if a treatment isn’t working, they offer a revision to get your glucose under control.
What are the complications of diabetes?
Diabetes can increase your risk of certain complications, including:
Because diabetes can affect your nerves, you may lose sensation in your feet. You may not notice cuts, corns, or blisters that can become infected and lead to amputation. The doctors at Sole Health Medical Center perform regular foot examinations to help you maintain good foot health.
If you think you may have diabetes or need expert management of the condition, call Sole Health Medical Center or book an appointment online.