What is Diabetes?

Mar 11, 2022

What does it mean to have diabetes? Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired. Insulin is released from your pancreas in response to rising glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. When someone becomes diabetic there body is struggling to produce enough insulin or the insulin they are producing isn’t working properly. 

How do I know if I am diabetic? This is a question that we get often. There are a couple of tests that we run that will show us if you are prediabetic or diabetic. The first test that we run is called a Hemoglobin A1c. This test gives us an average of your blood sugar in the past three months. A normal A1c is 5.7 and below, prediabetes is 5.7-6.4, and diabetic is 6.5 and above. This is a test that is ran with any annual blood work, which is why it is important to have a yearly exam. The second test that can be ran is called a fasting blood sugar test. This test measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast. A fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dl or lower is normal, if it is 100-125 mg/dl this indicates you are prediabetic, and 126 mg/dl or higher indicates you have diabetes. The third test that is ran is called a glucose tolerance test. This test is more in depth and can take several hours but tells us how your body is processing sugar in your blood. Running a A1c and fasting glucose is a great way to indicate if you have diabetes but the only way to know for sure if you have diabetes is by running a glucose tolerance test.

What symptoms may I be experiencing if I have diabetes? Most symptoms people experience is frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, blurry vision, numbness or tingling in hand or feet, feel very tired, have very dry skin, have sores that heal slowly, and have more infections than usual. Now here is the hiccup, there are two different types of diabetes you can be diagnosed with.  Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed at a young age and it is not very common. A lot of people will have symptoms that develop in a few weeks or months and include nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains. With type 2 diabetes this takes several years to develop and most people don’t even recognize any symptoms.

How do I treat my diabetes? There is many ways to treat diabetes. When diagnosed with type 1 diabetes you can’t reverse it. If you are in a prediabetic stage though you have a chance to reverse it. By changing the way you eat, exercising, and sometimes the help of some medication, you can completely reverse your diabetes. Once you become diabetic (type 2) your body is past that point and you will have to take medication to control your sugar. Some medications include Metformin, Rybelsus, Ozempic, Farxiga, etc. If your pancreas quits working entirely and isn’t producing any insulin or working the way it should you are going to have to give yourself insulin. With all type 1 diabetics this is the case.

If diabetes runs in your family, it is important to watch your diet and to exercise. If you are concerned about your health or have questions please contact our office as our providers value optimal wellness.