Diabetes: What is it, Can it be Prevented, and How is it Treated?

By: Florida Medical Clinic | On: November 17, 2015

Diabetes is becoming a more common health problem as time goes on. Obesity and sedentary lifestyles, in addition to a wealth of unhealthy food options, are largely contributing factors.

Diabetes: What is it, Can it be Prevented, and How is it Treated?

While type I diabetes is not curable, it’s possible to live with this condition. Additionally, many cases of type II diabetes are preventable. Both types can have effective treatment options. Here, you can learn about diabetes, its prevention, and treatment.

Diabetes: What is it, Can it be Prevented, and How is it Treated? - Florida Medical CenterWhat is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which occurs when the body cannot properly process food into energy.

The body requires glucose (blood sugar), which is mostly obtained from food, in order to make energy to function normally. The pancreas produces insulin in order for blood to carry glucose to cells throughout the body.

Sometimes, insulin production doesn’t work the way it should, and glucose is unable to reach cells. When this happens, blood glucose builds up to extremely high levels and can lead to diabetes or prediabetes.

Diabetes can lead to a number of health problems, including some potentially serious conditions.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type I: Type I diabetes usually starts during a person’s childhood, and stays with them for life. This type occurs when the pancreas stops making insulin.

The risk factors for type I include family history, diseases which affect the pancreas, and illness or infection which damages the pancreas.

Type II: Also known as ‘adult-onset’ diabetes, type II usually occurs in adults but can develop at any age. With type II, your body produces insulin, but has difficulty using it due to insulin resistance.

There are many risk factors for type II diabetes. Some of these factors include obesity, family history, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, ethnicity, gestational diabetes, and impaired glucose tolerance.

Some people may develop what is known as ‘prediabetes’. Prediabetes is classified as blood sugar levels which are elevated, but not high enough to be considered type II diabetes. People with prediabetes can take steps such as exercising and losing weight to reduce or eliminate their risk of developing diabetes.

You may have also heard of Gestational Diabetes. This usually-temporary form of diabetes occurs during a woman’s pregnancy if the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. Learn more about gestational diabetes here.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Some people exhibit many symptoms of diabetes, while others have no symptoms at all.

  • Feeling thirsty frequently
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Feeling extremely hungry
  • Changes to vision, especially sudden changes
  • Extremely dry skin
  • Long recovery time for sores on skin
  • Experiencing more illnesses or infections than normal
  • Feeling tired or exhausted most of the time
  • Sensations of tingling or numbness in hands or feet

It’s important for you to visit your primary care doctor if you are uncertain at all about these symptoms, or if you suspect you may have diabetes.

Why is Important to Treat Diabetes?

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications with your heart, kidneys, blood vessels, eyes and mouth, and feet. Amputation is sometimes required in these cases.

People with diabetes are also at an increased risk of heart disease.

Diabetes: What is it, Can it be Prevented, and How is it Treated? - Florida Medical CenterCan Diabetes be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent type I diabetes. However, lifestyle adjustments and proper treatment can help delay complications from developing.

Type II diabetes can generally be avoided by staying active, practicing a healthy lifestyle, and making smart food choices. Additionally, people who are at high risk for type II diabetes should have regular checkups.

How is Diabetes Treated?

Diabetes is not curable. Individuals affected by type I will usually have to take insulin injections for life.

Both type I and II are generally treated with exercise, diet, and sometimes medication. Choosing an active lifestyle and opting for healthy food helps keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check.

With due diligence and careful lifestyle choices, you can manage your diabetes and live an otherwise normal, healthy lifestyle. You can find many helpful guides and tips about nutrition and diabetes at the American Diabetes Association website.

Your Care Team: Florida Medical Clinic

Both diabetes type I and II have the potential to affect more than just your blood sugar levels; they can lead to cardiovascular problems and more.

That’s why you need the experienced, top-notch team at Florida Medical Clinic’s Endocrinology Department to help you manage your diabetes so you can stay healthy and happy for years to come.

Your own personal Diabetes Care Team will include some or all of these specialists:

  • Primary Doctor
  • Endocrinologist
  • Dietitian
  • Eye Doctor
  • Podiatrist
  • Dentist
  • Nurse/Diabetes Educator
  • Exercise Trainer
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Therapist

You don’t have to live with diabetes alone. Our team at Florida Medical Clinic is here to help!