Diabetes isn’t a single condition, but rather a group of diseases that cause blood sugar to rise. Some conditions, like gestational diabetes and prediabetes, may be reversible. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are chronic conditions that require lifelong management.
Chronic diabetes conditions have the potential to cause serious damage to your health in several different ways. It may feel as though these related health complications are a lot to manage, and that’s an accurate assessment. You’ll likely need a team of medical professionals and specialists to monitor the effects of the condition on your health.
This management team often starts with a diabetes specialist, like the team led by Dr. Betsy Horton at Alpha Internal Medicine in Fayetteville, Georgia. As you sort through the health priorities that diabetes may cause, there’s one condition that you should be most concerned about — blood sugar management.
The hormone insulin plays a key role in your body by triggering a cell response to accept glucose, the medical name for blood sugar, as fuel. If your insulin levels are low or your body no longer produces the substance, you have type 1 diabetes and there’s no signal given for cells to absorb glucose.
When you still produce insulin but your body ignores the glucose signal, you have insulin resistance, the key factor in type 2 diabetes. In both cases, the glucose content in your blood rises, and it can damage tissue throughout your body.
Virtually every part of your body can be affected by high glucose levels. Blood vessels and nerves can be damaged, leading to cardiovascular disease and neuropathy (nerve damage) throughout your body. Circulation issues can affect your feet, or you may lose sensation in the local nerves. Together, this can lead to dangerous situations featuring slow-healing sores that you can’t feel. Diabetes complications include amputation of toes, feet, and lower legs.
High glucose levels can damage organs including the kidneys and eyes. Changes to your vision may be one of the first symptoms you notice and damage to tiny vessels within the eye continues, potentially leading to blindness. Hearing may suffer and you could be more prone to dementia conditions.
While these potential complications may seem overwhelming, the first course of action in any diabetes-related condition is blood sugar control. Lowering glucose levels in your body slows the progression of damage to these important systems.
For type 1 diabetics, this means supplemental insulin, usually in the form of injections or pumps. Since your body doesn’t manufacture insulin anymore, you need a synthetic source to alert the cells to use blood sugar as fuel for function.
Type 2 diabetics have more options before taking insulin becomes necessary. Diet changes, increased physical activity, and medications can change the way your body processes blood glucose, lowering amounts to acceptable levels.
Blood sugar control starts with Alpha Internal Medicine. You can think of us as the quarterbacks of your diabetes management team. Call or click to schedule a consultation. You can control diabetes, rather than having diabetes control you. Book your appointment today.