What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that arises when your body has insufficient levels of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. Your pancreas makes insulin, which it then releases into the bloodstream. Too little insulin results in your body undergoing dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar levels that can have serious consequences.
There are two primary types of diabetes. People who have type 1 diabetes have an autoimmune condition, which means their own body destroys the cells that create insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, you won’t produce any insulin at all and will need to take replacement medication to manage your condition long-term.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is making insulin, but it’s either not enough, or your body isn’t able to make use of what it produces. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 is preventable, typically brought on by a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle.
Am I at risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is higher if a family member has the condition, or if you’re a woman who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy. However, type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable, and making healthy lifestyle choices plays a critical part in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.
Lifestyle factors that increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:
One of the dangers of the early stages of type 2 diabetes is that unless you go for screening tests, you may be unaware that you’re developing the condition. Diabetes causes few symptoms initially, and those that are present, such as feeling tired or needing to go to the bathroom more often, can be mistaken for other things, such as the signs of aging or menopause.
By the time symptoms become more apparent, your body could be at risk of some of the more severe consequences of developing diabetes, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, or stroke. Left untreated, diabetes can also cause problems with circulation and nerve damage in the feet that can potentially result in amputation.
Screening for diabetes is an important element of your annual physical at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge, enabling you to take action if there are any signs of prediabetes before you reach such a serious stage.
What treatments are available for type 2 diabetes?
The principal treatment for type 2 diabetes is to make changes to your lifestyle. The team at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge plays an integral part in helping you manage diabetes successfully by preparing customized diet and exercise plans, supporting you with activities like smoking cessation, and helping you shed any excess pounds.
With their help, you’ll be able to improve your health and keep your blood sugar stable, avoiding the serious consequences of diabetes. They can also manage any medications you may need and monitor your health regularly, including carrying out examinations of your feet.
Call AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge today to arrange a diabetes screening test, or book an appointment online.