On a typical day, you’d be hard-pressed to avoid the seemingly endless commercials about medicines lowering your A1C, new apps to track glucose levels, or insulin pumps and other new technologies being developed to help manage diabetes.
And for good reason: About 37.3 million Americans have diabetes and 1.5 million new cases are diagnosed each year.
But did you know there are about 7.3 million Americans who have diabetes and don’t even know it?
In this blog, our medical team at I & B Associates in Miami, Florida, shares their comprehensive guide on the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for diabetes.
But let’s unpack this discussion by first explaining what it is so you can better understand why it’s so important to manage the condition.
Diabetes is all about glucose (blood sugar) and a hormone called insulin. These two elements work together to deliver energy to the cells throughout your body to maintain optimal operation.
Diabetes develops when either the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to do its job properly or insulin production is sufficient but for some reason the cells don’t react as they should. In either case, the result is an excess of glucose in your blood.
If diabetes is uncontrolled over time, the high glucose levels can affect nearly every system and organ throughout your body, including your blood vessels and nerves, as well as your eyes, heart, and kidneys.
Complications of uncontrolled diabetes include:
Measuring blood glucose is typically part of the blood tests that doctors order for an annual physical, and for good reason.
Some people with diabetes experience symptoms like unexplained weight loss or increased hunger, thirst, or urination. But many people with diabetes may not notice any symptoms until they suffer a medical complication like a heart issue, blurred vision, or a foot wound that won’t heal.
While there is no cure for diabetes, you can manage your diabetes and live a full, healthy life by making some key commitments and lifestyle choices.
Chief among these commitments is doing everything you can to keep your blood sugar under control. Diabetes is a serious medical condition that can be difficult to manage.
Work with your doctor and medical care team to get your glucose level where it needs to be, and keep it that way. Be your own best advocate.
Make good lifestyle choices like eating a healthy, balanced diet with an eye toward proper portions. Watch your carbohydrate intake since carbs affect glucose levels quicker than protein or fat.
Think fiber-rich foods like beans and berries, and forego processed foods loaded with sugar. Instead, eat a nice mix of whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
When you have diabetes, nothing goes better with eating right than getting regular exercise. Even small things like taking a short walk everyday can make a world of difference. When you’re more active and less sedentary, your body uses insulin much more efficiently.
Being overweight or obese can be a life-threatening combination with diabetes. Not only is being overweight or obese a risk factor for developing diabetes, but it also makes it harder for you to manage your diabetes.
The good news is that once you gain control over what you eat and ramp up regular exercise, you are in a much better position to lose weight.
When it comes to being diabetic and losing weight, even modest weight loss like 5% or 10% can make a huge difference. Change is never easy, but by shedding excess weight, you’ll be in a better position to control your diabetes and avoid serious complications.
If you have diabetes and want to learn more about our diabetes care services at I & B Associates in Miami, Florida, book a consultation online or call us today.