Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that can negatively influence your quality of life without treatment. At Jivana Care in Bethesda, Maryland, family medicine specialists Gezzer Ortega, MD, and the team provide comprehensive diabetes management care. Diabetes management is essential for avoiding complications in the future. To learn more, call Jivana Care or schedule an appointment online today.
Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that results in high blood sugar levels. The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which helps carry the glucose (sugar) in your blood into your cells where it’s used for energy. If your pancreas can’t produce insulin, isn’t making enough of it, or your body isn’t using insulin properly, the glucose builds up in your blood.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to many complications, including damaged blood vessels, kidney disease, eye problems, heart disease, and even stroke.
There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational.
With Type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin. It’s typically an inherited condition that manifests during childhood or adolescence. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections to stay well.
When your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin or your body doesn’t properly use the insulin it does make, you have Type 2 diabetes. While it can develop at any time, Type 2 diabetes is most common in middle-aged adults. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include obesity, poor diet, tobacco use, and inactivity.
Gestational diabetes is exclusive to pregnant women. It happens when high blood sugar develops during pregnancy. While gestational diabetes typically resolves itself after you give birth, it can raise your risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Some people develop prediabetes, which means their blood sugar is too high, but not high enough to meet the criteria for Type 2 diabetes. This precursor to diabetes can be controlled, and even reversed, with diet and lifestyle modifications.
Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes include:
Some symptoms are gender-specific. Women may have urinary tract infections or yeast infections while men may erectile dysfunction.
Treating diabetes requires lifelong management in most cases. While gestational diabetes typically resolves itself, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are chronic conditions.
No matter which type of diabetes you have, a healthy diet and regular exercise are important for maintaining your overall health. If you have Type 2 diabetes and you’re overweight, losing weight may improve your condition.
Quitting all tobacco use can also minimize your risk of diabetes complications, such as stroke. Minimizing your consumption of alcohol also improves your treatment outcome.
Medications are important for treating diabetes. While all Type 1 diabetes patients require regular insulin injections, some people with Type 2 diabetes control their condition with oral medication and a healthy diet. Monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly also helps you keep track of your numbers so your provider can adjust your medication as needed.
To learn more about diabetes, call Jivana Care or schedule an appointment online now.