More than 29 million people suffer from diabetes, and another 86 million adults have pre-diabetes, a condition in which they’re at risk for developing the disease. Diabetes can take several forms, all of which must be managed by a doctor to reduce your risk of serious complications. Men and women in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and Old Bridge, New Jersey should contact internal medicine specialist, Dr. Vijay Patel, for diabetes diagnosis and management. Make an appointment at his office, Vijay Patel, MD, or use the online booking agent.
Diabetes Q & A
What is diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when your body cannot produce insulin or doesn’t use the insulin you do produce properly. Insulin is a hormone responsible for helping your cells use sugar, or glucose, from the foods you eat. When you don’t produce insulin at all, you have type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune condition usually diagnosed in youth. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body produces some insulin, but the amount of insulin is not enough, or your body grows resistant to it, and it doesn’t effectively push your cells to use glucose for energy. As a result, your blood sugar levels build up, endangering your health. People with type 2 diabetes are commonly diagnosed with the condition when they’re over 40.
What is pre-diabetes?
In pre-diabetes, your blood glucose is high, but not quite at the point of type 2 diabetes. If you don’t take lifestyle and medical management measures to reduce your blood sugar, you will likely develop the disease.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Diabetes symptoms can be mild and barely noticeable, especially in the initial stages. Warning signs include:
- Increased hunger and fatigue
- Thirst and more frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing cuts and sores
- Dry, itchy skin
With type 1 diabetes, you may experience unexplained weight loss despite eating more.
How is diabetes managed?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that needs management from an experienced internist, such as Dr. Patel. He can monitor your blood glucose and offer recommendations as to how to keep it under control. These include dietary modifications, weight-loss interventions, and increased physical activity. In some cases of type 2 diabetes, Dr. Patel might also prescribe medication to help your body produce more insulin and control your blood sugar levels. Other medications inhibit the release of glucose from your liver to also keep your blood sugar levels in control.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to administer insulin daily through injections or a pump. Dr. Patel ensures your dosing of the hormone is optimal.
What are the complications of diabetes?
Unmanaged or poorly managed diabetes can lead to serious health problems. These include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Nerve damage
- Eye problems, including cataracts and glaucoma
- Foot infections and possible amputation
- Kidney damage
Diabetics are also more susceptible to skin problems, hearing impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. Proper treatment and moderation of high blood sugar levels help keep these complications from seriously compromising your quality of life.