What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes the glucose or sugar it gets from your diet. A healthy body makes the hormone insulin to convert this sugar into the energy you need to function.
In type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin, resulting in your blood sugar levels to stay too high. In type 2 diabetes, you don’t make enough insulin, or your body doesn’t properly use the insulin it makes to control blood sugar.
Type 1 diabetes is genetic, and you may be at increased risk for the condition if your family members have it. Type 1 symptoms usually develop in adolescence but can also occur in adulthood. Type 2 diabetes often results because of a sedentary lifestyle and obesity, affecting both children and adults.
There’s also a condition, known as prediabetes, that causes your blood sugar levels to become high, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Prediabetes is reversible so you can avoid a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, and the team at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Pikesville can help.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Diabetes can affect people differently. The earliest stages of diabetes may not cause any symptoms, but as the condition advances, you may experience issues like:
Diabetes can also cause recurring infections, or you may find that open wounds are slow to heal. If left untreated, diabetes can result in serious health issues, including permanent nerve damage, kidney disease, and stroke.
How is diabetes diagnosed?
Diagnosing diabetes requires a simple blood test which your AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Pikesville provider uses to evaluate your blood sugar levels. They may suggest blood work if you have any symptoms of the disease to rule out or confirm the condition.
If you have a family history of diabetes, your provider may recommend routine screenings during your annual physical to check for abnormalities in your blood sugar levels.
What treatments are available for diabetes?
If you have type 1 diabetes, you need daily insulin to keep blood sugars well-controlled. Your doctor can provide information and resources about testing your blood sugar regularly at home to prevent sugars from going too high or too low.
In type 2 diabetes, insulin therapy may not be necessary. Your doctor may initially recommend diet and lifestyle changes to help you lose weight and become more physically active, both beneficial to controlling blood sugar. These changes can also prevent prediabetes from advancing into type 2 diabetes.
If these modifications aren’t enough to keep your blood sugar levels stable, you may need medication. You also need to regularly check your blood sugar levels at home and schedule routine checkups for diabetes monitoring at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Pikesville.
If you have concerns about your risk for diabetes, don’t delay a consultation. You can schedule on-site blood testing by calling AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Pikesville or using the online booking feature.