Over 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes can be life-changing, but it’s manageable with the right treatments. At Elite NP Clinic in DeSoto, Texas, Nurse Practitioner Tamara Washington provides the highest standard of health care for people with diabetes, including blood sugar monitoring, testing, and other valuable treatment methods. Start with a consultation with Nurse Washington. Request your appointment online or call Elite NP Clinic today.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases that impact how your body utilizes blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is your body’s energy source, and all types of diabetes involve too much glucose in your bloodstream.
Type 1 diabetes
With type 1 diabetes, your immune system that usually fights harmful viruses and bacteria begins to attack your insulin-producing pancreatic cells. It typically develops during childhood or adolescence, but it can occur at any age.
Type 2 diabetes
Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, and both conditions involve the pancreatic cells becoming resistant to insulin and your pancreas becoming unable to make enough insulin to combat this resistance. Type 2 diabetes is more common and can also develop at any age, though it’s more prevalent in those over age 40.
Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are above average and in a warning zone, but not high enough to be diabetes.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy but can resolve after the birth.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
The symptoms of diabetes include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Frequent infections, such as vaginal, skin, or gum infections
What causes diabetes?
Your pancreas — the gland behind and below your stomach — produces insulin. When you consume sugar, or foods that turn to sugar in your body, your pancreas responds and secretes insulin into your bloodstream.
Insulin circulates and enables the sugar to enter your cells. The insulin hormone is responsible for controlling how you store and use that sugar and lowering the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. When your blood sugar level drops, so does insulin production.
The exact cause of diabetes isn’t clear, but there are many risk factors believed to play a part with the malfunctioning of your cells and pancreas, such as:
- Family history
- Obesity and excess weight
- Certain medical conditions, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and autoimmune diseases
Diabetes can lead to complications, such as:
- Nerve damage
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Damage to the kidneys, eyes, feet, skin, and hearing
What are the treatments for diabetes?
Several blood tests check for diabetes, and the treatments depend on the type and severity. Possible treatments include:
- Insulin and oral medications
- Lifestyle changes, such as nutrition and exercise
- Blood sugar monitoring, for example with a glucose monitor