Diabetes Q & A
What is diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus (DM) refers to several diseases that affect the way the body processes blood glucose (sugar). Blood sugar helps fuel the cells in your brain and provides energy for your muscles and soft tissues. But when your blood sugar levels are consistently high for an extended period, it increases your risk of serious health problems.
Diabetes doesn’t always present obvious symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to participate in routine checkups and preventive screenings. If you’re concerned about your risk of diabetes or need proper management, contact the team at Ally Endocrinology today.
What are the types of diabetes?
The team at Ally Endocrinology treats all types of Diabetes, including:
Prediabetes isn’t diabetes per se, but it increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are at unsafe levels. Healthy lifestyle changes like losing weight, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet can help reverse the condition and prevent further complications.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (T1DM) is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. Insulin is a critical hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. There’s no cure for TIDM, but management is possible with healthy lifestyle changes and insulin therapy.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) occurs if your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it resists insulin. When your body fails to use insulin properly, your blood sugar levels increase. Some people can manage their blood sugar through healthy lifestyle changes. Others require prescription medication or insulin therapy.
At Ally Endocrinology, the team believes that T2DM is a cardiac disease and not just a metabolic disease. To ensure positive patient outcomes, they focus on cardiac health and try to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. As your baby grows, your body releases hormones to provide protection. Researchers aren’t sure why, but these hormones can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Gestational diabetes typically resolves after you give birth, but it may increase the risk of complications during pregnancy.
How is diabetes diagnosed?
To diagnose diabetes, the team at Ally Endocrinology reviews your health history, conducts a physical exam, and orders lab tests, including a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. An A1C test measures your average blood sugar level over the last few months. Any reading of 6.5% or higher on two or more tests means you have diabetes.
How is diabetes treated?
The team at Ally Endocrinology treats diabetes using the knowledge they gain from on-site research studies. Depending on the type of diabetes you have and the severity of your symptoms, the team might recommend:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
- Taking prescription medication
- Insulin therapy
- Medical devices like insulin pumps or glucose sensors
Several endocrinopathies, including acromegaly, Cushing syndrome, glucagonoma, hyperthyroidism, hyperaldosteronism, and somatostatinomas, have been associated with glucose intolerance and diabetes mellitus (DM), due to the inherent glucogenic action of the endogenous hormones excessively secreted in these conditions. Conditions like idiopathic hemochromatosis are associated with DM due to excessive iron deposition in the pancreas and the destruction of the beta cells.
A patient with DM has the potential for hyperglycemia. The pathology of DM can be unclear since several factors can often contribute to the disease. Hyperglycemia alone can impair pancreatic beta-cell function and contributes to impaired insulin secretion. Consequentially, there is a vicious cycle of hyperglycemia leading to an impaired metabolic state.
Chronic hyperglycemia also causes nonenzymatic glycation of proteins and lipids. The extent of this is measurable via the glycation hemoglobin (HbA1c) test. Glycation leads to damage in small blood vessels in the retina, kidney, and peripheral nerves. Higher glucose levels hasten the process. This damage leads to the classic diabetic complications of diabetic retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy and the preventable outcomes of blindness, dialysis, and amputation, respectively.
DM also increases your risk of mental illness. If necessary, the team can refer you to a psychiatrist, counselor, or therapist for mental health care. By receiving care at Ally Endocrinology, you gain access to treatments five to seven years before they’re available to other doctors in the community.
To learn more about treatment for diabetes, request a consultation at Ally Endocrinology. Book online to schedule an appointment or call the nearest office today.