Overview of Diabetes Treatment in San Diego

Overview of Diabetes Treatment in San Diego

Diabetes (Mellitus) is a chronic disease with wide ranging damaging effects caused by high blood sugar. Excess blood sugar attaches to red blood cells, deposits onto nerves and blood vessel walls, this impairs the body’s nerves and blood flow. If not properly controlled diabetes can damage every organ system in your body.

There are two common categories of diabetes, known as “Type 1” and “Type 2”. Type-1 diabetes is dependent on taking insulin because the pancreas progressively loses its’ ability to produce insulin (from Beta-cells). Type-2 diabetes is “insulin-independent”, although some people with this type eventually require taking insulin.

Type-1 diabetes occurs 90% of the time due to autoimmune destruction of the Beta cells. The cause of Type-2 diabetes is related to insulin-resistance. Most commonly this occurs in association with “metabolic syndrome”, meaning obesity, unhealthy eating habits and poor nutrition, as well as a sedentary, physically inactive lifestyle.

Ask your Doctor about a fasting glucose level, an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), or a Hemoglobin A1C measurement. A high fasting glucose level indicates your body is experiencing excess sugar even at its’ lowest point. Hemoglobin A1C is a measurement of the % sugar on your red blood cells, reflecting an average value over the past 90-120 days (the lifespan of your red blood cells). Positive results on two out of these three tests confirm a diagnosis of diabetes. The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends screening all adults at-risk for the development of this condition.

The most common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst despite drinking fluids, frequent eating, and frequent urination.

High blood sugars damage the body’s blood vessels, nerves, and can eventually damage multiple organs. The most commonly damaged organs are the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and renal system. These can manifest as burning pain with loss of sensation in the hands and feet (neuropathy); heart attacks, blindness, and stroke; and chronic kidney disease, respectively.

Taking care of your body by controlling your blood sugar is the best method of preventing the harmful effects and decreased quality of life associated with diabetes. Metformin and Insulin are the two most common medications used in treating high blood sugars. Metformin works by sensitizing your body’s cells to the naturally made insulin already in your body. Insulin, like a key to a locked door, allows sugar to exit the blood stream and proceed inside your body’s cells. It is made from the pancreas inside your body, and is also taken as a drug in the form of skin injections.

High blood sugars can be controlled, or even prevented, by aggressively pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet, fruits and vegetables, low amounts of processed foods and carbohydrates, as well as consistent cardiovascular exercise, are all elements of a healthy life. Your best health investment is you- invest in yourself by taking care of your body!

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