The CDC estimates that about 100 million Americans are living with diabetes. Left unmanaged, diabetes increases your risk of more serious health problems, including permanent nerve damage and heart disease. At Physicians Medical Primary Care in San Jose, California, Sveltlana Burkhead, MD, and Gina Bui, MD, work with people of all ages to diagnose and treat diabetes. If you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels, request an appointment today by calling the office or using the online booking tool.
Diabetes is an umbrella term used to describe a group of diseases that affect the way your body uses blood sugar. Glucose provides energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues; it also helps fuel your brain. However, too much blood sugar can lead to serious health problems.
Though the underlying cause of diabetes varies by type, all forms of diabetes cause high blood sugar. If your blood sugar is too high for an extended period of time, you run the risk of circulatory problems, organ damage, and early death.
There are several different types of diabetes. Physicians Medical Primary Care specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, as well as prediabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, a hormone that’s responsible for regulating your blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is genetic and always requires treatment with insulin therapy.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells in your pancreas become resistant to insulin. Over time, your pancreas becomes unable to make enough insulin, which causes consistently high blood sugar levels. Experts aren’t entirely sure what causes type 2 diabetes, but it’s thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. You’re also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight or obese.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, your placenta produces hormones to help protect your pregnancy. Ultimately, these hormones make your cells resistant to insulin. Typically, a pregnant woman’s pancreas produces extra insulin to counteract this imbalance. But if your pancreas can’t keep up, you might develop gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after giving birth, but it may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
Prediabetes is a medical condition defined by consistently high blood sugar levels. However, with prediabetes, your blood sugar isn’t high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes. With lifestyle changes, it’s possible to reverse prediabetes.
To diagnose diabetes, your provider at Physicians Medical Primary Care conducts a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This test doesn’t require fasting and measures your average blood sugar level for the past three months — the higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin in your blood. A test result of 6.5% or higher on two separate screenings indicates diabetes.
If an A1C test doesn’t provide adequate results, or you have a medical condition that would make this test inaccurate, your provider might recommend a random blood sugar test or a fasting blood sugar test.
Treatment for diabetes varies depending on your health history and the type of diabetes you have.
If you have type 1 diabetes, insulin therapy is absolutely necessary.
If you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, healthy lifestyle changes may be enough to improve your symptoms. For example, eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and losing or maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your numbers in check.
If you don’t respond to insulin therapy, your doctor might also recommend oral medications to stimulate your pancreas and produce more insulin. With regular monitoring and checkups, you can live a happy, healthy, and active life with diabetes.
Are you concerned about your blood sugar levels? If so, make a diabetes assessment appointment at Physicians Medical Primary Care today by calling the office or using the online booking tool.