According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 37.3 million Americans have diabetes, and another 98 million have prediabetes. However, with proper care and management, you can still live a healthy life and lower your risk of diabetes complications.
The endocrinologists at Maiden Lane Medical in Manhattan, NY offer expert diagnosis and treatment for diabetes. Contact our office today to regain peace of mind and take control of your diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of diseases that interfere with the way your body produces and uses insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in your pancreas that helps your body convert glucose – blood sugar – into energy.
When your body doesn’t have enough insulin or doesn’t use it correctly, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms and complications that can lead to amputation. Other complications can also arise due to a lack of insulin, such as kidney disease and even blindness.
The three most common types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, which used to be called juvenile diabetes, prevents your body from producing insulin. It usually develops in children and adolescents but can emerge at any age.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body stops using insulin correctly, causing your blood sugar levels to increase. Type 2 diabetes used to only develop in adults, but it’s now common in children and adolescents as well.
Some women develop insulin resistance/GDM can occur during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy. The condition typically goes away after childbirth but does increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes occurs when your body develops insulin resistance, but your blood sugar levels haven’t increased enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis. Prediabetes significantly increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
However, if you find out you have prediabetes, you can take steps to reverse the condition before you need medical intervention or run the risk of diabetes complications.
What Causes Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is caused by a malfunctioning pancreas. Research indicates that an autoimmune disorder that destroys the insulin-making cells in the pancreas is the root cause of the dysfunction.
You’re more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes if you have a family history of the disease. Type 2 diabetes also has genetic risk factors; however, an unhealthy lifestyle involving a high-sugar diet, little physical activity, and obesity are the leading causes of the disease today.
Gestational diabetes is caused by a hormone produced by the placenta interfering with the way your body uses insulin.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
The most common signs of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Slow healing sores
- Numbness or tingling in your feet or hands
Type 1 diabetes may also cause unexplained weight loss. However, many people with diabetes or prediabetes may not notice any symptoms. They may continue to live their lives as normal, and the first indication that something is wrong is a diabetes complication, such as vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy.
When Should I Talk to a Doctor?
Adults should talk to their primary care physician about diabetes risk at their annual physicals. Your doctor can order a blood test to measure your glucose and A1C levels to evaluate your risk. If you have diabetes, your doctor will recommend regular appointments on a schedule to support your specific needs.
What Are Common Diabetes Complications?
Consistently elevated blood glucose levels cause blood vessel, nerve, and organ damage, leading to health issues, including diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, gum disease, tooth loss, heart disease, and kidney damage.
Diabetes also interferes with your body’s ability to heal itself, which, combined with nerve damage, can lead to foot complications like ulcers, necrosis, gangrene, and amputation.
Fortunately, if you and your diabetes care team manage your disease, you can reduce your risk of developing any of these issues.
How Is Diabetes Treated?
While there isn’t a cure for diabetes, you and your doctor can implement a diabetes management plan to regulate your blood sugar levels and protect your health. Regardless of the type, you will need to have regular visits with your doctor so they can monitor your blood sugar and diabetes symptoms.
Your treatment options depend on the type and severity of your disease. For example, if you have Type 1 diabetes, you will need to take supplemental insulin. Your doctor may prescribe injections or insulin pumps to deliver the hormones your body doesn’t produce.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes such as cutting sugar and processed foods out of your diet, regular exercise, and weight loss to achieve a healthy weight.
In the early stages of the disease, these lifestyle adjustments may be sufficient to regulate your blood glucose and restore your health. However, if your condition is advanced, your doctor may need to prescribe insulin to help your body process glucose efficiently.
If you’re concerned about early signs of diabetes symptoms and are looking for a diabetes educator or a diabetes specialist to help you manage your health, contact Maiden Lane Medical today! Our care team of doctors in Manhattan, NY specializes in creating personalized treatment plans to improve and protect your health.
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