Diabetes is a group of diseases affecting how your body utilizes glucose. Glucose is important for overall health because it is a critical energy source for the cells in your tissues and muscles.
The cause of diabetes varies according to the type, but all can lead to excess blood sugar levels. When you have an excess of sugar in your blood, it can cause serious health problems. There are two chronic diabetes conditions, which are Type I diabetes and Type II diabetes.
Prediabetes is a potentially reversible condition where your blood sugar levels are higher but are not high enough to be classed as diabetes. Pregnancy diabetes or gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and can be reversed once the baby is born.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
The symptoms you experience depend on the level of your blood sugar. Some people may have few symptoms. With Type I diabetes, symptoms tend to develop quickly and are more severe. Some of the first signs of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and the need to urinate more frequently
- Unexplained weight loss
- Experiencing extreme hunger
- Fatigue and irritability
- Frequent infections that can affect the skin or gums and wounds may be slow to heal
- Blurred vision
You can develop Type I diabetes at any age, but it typically appears during childhood or adolescence. Type II diabetes is more common and can also develop at any age, but it most frequently occurs in people over age 40.
What Causes Diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and which is secreted into the bloodstream. As the insulin circulates around your body, it allows sugar to enter body cells, reducing the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As the level of blood sugar declines, your pancreas produces less insulin.
Type I Diabetes
Although the exact cause of Type I diabetes is unknown, we do know that the immune system destroys the pancreas cells that produce insulin. When the pancreas cannot produce insulin, sugar is no longer transported into your cells and instead builds up in the bloodstream.
Type II Diabetes and Prediabetes
In Type II diabetes and prediabetes, cells become insulin resistant, and the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Instead of sugar moving into your cells where it can produce energy, it builds up in your bloodstream.
During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones, and which can increase insulin resistance. Usually, the pancreas can produce more insulin to overcome resistance, but it can’t always keep up with the need. Instead, too little glucose can enter the cells while too much stays in the blood, causing gestational diabetes.
Complications Caused by Diabetes
The risk of long-term complications increases the longer you have diabetes, and if your blood sugar levels aren’t well controlled. Potential risks include cardiovascular disease, kidney damage and eye problems, and neuropathy or nerve damage.
Type I and Type II Diabetes Test
If your doctor or New York physician suspects you have this disease, they can carry out a diabetes blood test which measures your average blood sugar level for the past two or three months, and which is called glycated hemoglobin or an A1C test.
If your blood sugar levels are higher, you will have more hemoglobin with sugar attached. There are various other blood sugar tests that may be used is the A1C test results aren’t consistent or if your doctor suspects the results are inaccurate.
All types of diabetes can be managed more easily by ensuring you have a good level of overall health that includes a healthy diet and exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. After diagnosis, our physicians can discuss a suitable diet and exercise plan.
It is critical to look after your health and to make sure your vaccines are up-to-date and to schedule regular physical and eye exams. Diabetes can affect your oral health, so see your dentist regularly as your risk of serious gum infections increases.
Pay special attention to your foot care and especially if you have neuropathy. Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that most often damages nerves in your feet and legs. It is a common and serious complication, and it can be extremely painful.
There is no cure but diabetic neuropathy treatment can slow the progression of the disease, will help to manage complications and relieve pain. The key to preventing or delaying nerve damage is to ensure you keep your blood sugar levels within your target range. Many prescriptions can help relieve nerve pain, including antidepressants and antiseizure drugs.
Type I Diabetes Treatment
Type I diabetes treatment involves using an insulin pump or insulin injections combined with frequent blood sugar checks. We can provide a tailored treatment plan which will show you how frequently you should check and record your blood sugar levels.
Type I diabetes requires careful monitoring to ensure your blood sugar levels remain within a healthy range. Even with careful monitoring, it’s still possible that your blood sugar levels may be unpredictable in response to medications, food, exercise, illness, stress, and alcohol.
Type II Diabetes Treatment
Type II diabetes treatment mainly focuses on lifestyle changes, although you will need to monitor your blood sugar levels carefully. Some people with Type II diabetes will need medications or insulin, or both.
Sometimes blood sugar problems may require immediate care and especially if you have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or if you have very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). It’s important to check your blood sugar levels regularly and to watch for symptoms of blood sugar imbalances.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Diabetes in Midtown NYC and New York’s Upper East Side
Our primary care best NYC doctors will do blood work to test for diabetes to determine your status and formulate a treatment plan as necessary. The goal of treatment is to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible to avoid complications. Oral medications or injections may be necessary. Our doctors will also counsel you on lifestyle changes that are critical in managing diabetes and lead to the best outcomes possible.
What are the symptoms of Diabetes?
Symptoms of diabetes can include fatigue, increased thirst, urination and hunger, blurred vision, weight loss, numbness and tingling in hands and feet as well as other symptoms.
Please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Midtown Manhattan or Upper East Side so that we can help. Our primary care doctors look forward to meeting you!