What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a set of conditions that affect your metabolic system. Your body either doesn’t make enough of the hormone insulin or doesn’t use it properly to control your blood sugar (glucose) levels. Consistently high glucose levels will damage your health in many ways.
Insulin is responsible for transporting sugar from the food you eat into your cells so they can convert it into energy. When you have diabetes, insulin doesn’t do its job properly.
People with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition usually diagnosed in youth or young adulthood, don’t produce insulin. Those with Type 2 diabetes do produce insulin, but often not enough of it and the body doesn’t use it correctly.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes describes a condition in which your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not quite at the levels to be classified as diabetes. Untreated prediabetes greatly increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the near future.
When should I suspect I have diabetes?
When you have increased blood sugar levels, you develop a number of symptoms that worsen over time if the condition isn’t treated. Come in for a screening if you have:
With time, you can develop peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage to your feet and hands. You may also find that any open wounds, sores, and blisters heal slowly.
These symptoms can occur as a result of a number of health issues, so it’s a good idea to come in to get checked out.
How do doctors diagnose diabetes?
If you come in with symptoms that suggest diabetes, Dr. Wang or Dr. Duke checks your blood sugar with a simple in-office blood test. You may also be recommended for testing if you have a family history of the disease, you’re overweight, or you follow a poor diet. Glucose tests are sometimes included as part of a regular yearly exam, too.
How is diabetes managed and treated?
If you have Type 1 diabetes, you need daily insulin therapy to keep your blood sugar levels under control. You may be equipped with a pump or give yourself injections.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, you benefit from lifestyle and dietary changes, which help lower blood sugar levels naturally. In some cases, oral medication is also required to normalize your levels.
Schedule your diabetes evaluation and treatment plan with the staff at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Columbia. Call the office or book an appointment using this website.