Millions of people around the world have been diagnosed with or know someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (also called diabetes). Diabetes is a disease that can be prevented with physical activity and a healthy diet.
This blog is not meant for medical advice, but to give a general overview of common medical conditions. If you have questions about your specific health needs, please set up an appointment with us.
When it comes to treating and preventing diabetes, Clear Lake Medical Clinic will focus on your individual needs, lifestyle, and overall health. If you have diabetes in your family and want to prevent it or learn how to effectively manage it, call to schedule an appointment.
What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes is a disease that disrupts the way your body uses sugar due to problems with insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas. It is used by cells to bring in sugar from the blood so it can be used as energy. If your body doesn’t make insulin, or if your body stops responding correctly to insulin, your cells cannot bring in sugar properly. As a result, excess sugar builds up in the blood. This is why people with diabetes have high blood sugar.
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes. It used to be called juvenile diabetes, but it can be diagnosed in both children and adults. In type 1 diabetes, your body makes little or no insulin. It is usually treated with insulin therapy and other medications.
People with type 2 diabetes sometimes also make too little insulin, but more often the problem is that their cells do not respond to insulin effectively. This is called insulin resistance. To compensate for this inefficiency, your pancreas makes more and more insulin, but is unable to keep up over time.
The rest of this blog will focus on type 2 diabetes since it is more common.
What are risk factors of type 2 diabetes?
Many of the risk factors of diabetes are manageable through a balanced diet and exercise. Whether or not you develop type 2 diabetes depends on a combination of these risk factors, heredity, and your lifestyle, including:
- Family history of diabetes
- Obesity or being overweight
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Ethnicity – people of Asian, Hispanic, and African descent are at higher risk
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
People with Type 2 diabetes usually don’t experience any symptoms. However, when they do have symptoms, they present with:
- Needing to urinate often
- Intense thirst
- Blurry vision
If type 2 diabetes doesn’t cause symptoms, why should I care about it?
Even though type 2 diabetes might not make you feel sick, it can cause serious problems over time, if it isn’t closely managed. It can lead to:
- Coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack
- Cerebrovascular disease, which can lead to stroke
- Retinopathy (disease of the eye), which can lead to blindness
- Nephropathy (disease of the kidney), which can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis
- Neuropathy (disease of the nerves), which can lead to, among other things, ulceration of the foot requiring amputation
How will I know if I have type 2 diabetes?
To find out if you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor can do blood tests including a random blood sugar, a fasting blood sugar, and/or a hemoglobin A1C. The “hemoglobin A1C” measures the amount of sugar in your blood. This test tells you your average blood sugar level over the last three months. The results will help your doctor decide how to move forward with treatment. At Clear Lake Medical Clinic, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you manage your diabetes.
Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?
Yes, type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. To decrease chances of getting type 2 diabetes, the most important thing you can do is make sure you are living a healthy lifestyle.
- Improve your diet
- Get 30 minutes of physical activity each day
- Drink water instead of sugary beverages
- Lose weight
If you already have diabetes, a healthy lifestyle will improve your health and help with blood sugar control. Making small adjustments to your diet and activity each day can make a big difference. Clear Lake Medical Clinic will be right alongside you to manage your diabetes and help you live life to the fullest.
We can help you create a plan based on your individual needs, taking your lifestyle and overall health into consideration. Our goal is to help you stay as healthy as you can be at every stage of your life.