Diabetes mellitus occurs when the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood remains higher than normal. There are two main types of diabetes. These are called type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes usually develops quickly as the pancreas stops making insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually first presents in children or young adults.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who are overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes usually starts in middle-aged or elderly adults but there has been a rapid increase of diagnosis in children and young adults. The illness and symptoms tend to develop slowly over weeks, months or even years. This is because people with type 2 diabetes still make insulin. People with type 2 diabetes either do not make enough insulin for their needs or their body does not use the insulin properly.
Both types of diabetes can cause serious complications. Here at NCHS, our clinicians work with you to avoid and/or minimize these complications with excellent treatment and regular monitoring. In addition to the treatment from our healthcare professionals, understanding your diabetes and being able to manage your own diabetes are both very important.
Understanding Blood Glucose and Insulin
Foods are broken down into sugars in our intestine. The main sugar, glucose, is absorbed through the intestinal wall into the blood.
Your blood sugar or glucose level should not go too high or too low. When your blood glucose rises as a result of food intake, the level of a hormone called insulin should also rise. Insulin acts on the cells of your body and makes them take glucose into the cells from the blood. Insulin is made by special cells within the pancreas. Diabetes develops if you do not make enough insulin or if the insulin that you do make does not function as it should.
Screening for Diabetes
There are typically three options available:
- Fasting glucose test. Taken before you have eaten in the morning, this test evaluates your blood sugar levels. If your glucose level exceeds 126 mg/dL, you may be at risk for diabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). This test involves consuming a drink that has glucose in it and analyzing blood glucose levels frequently for a number of hours.
- A1c test. This particular test can show the average blood sugar level over the past several months. If you have an A1c level that is higher than 6.5% you may be at risk of diabetes.
What Are The Treatment Goals?
Although diabetes cannot be cured, it can be treated successfully. Studies have shown that people who have better glucose control have fewer complications (such as heart disease or eye problems) compared with those people who have poorer control of their glucose level. Studies have also shown that it is very important to keep blood pressure and blood lipid (cholesterol) levels as normal as possible.
Therefore, the main aims of treatment are:
- To keep your blood glucose level as near to normal as possible.
- To reduce any other risk factors which may increase your risk of developing complications. In particular, to reduce your blood pressure if it is high and to lead a healthy lifestyle.
- To detect any complications as early as possible. Treatment can prevent or delay some complications from becoming worse.
Local Diabetes Tests and Treatment Near You
Obtain a diabetes screening test at one of our North County Health Services clinics. Below are all of the clinics in our network that provide adult medicine and healthcare, including diabetes tests, treatment and management plans.
Diabetes is associated with serious complications. However, these complications can be prevented or greatly reduced in severity. A healthy lifestyle, regular monitoring and taking medicines to keep your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as normal as possible are all very important. Our NCHS providers are here to work with you in reaching healthy diabetic solutions. Give us a call today to learn more.