Diabetes & Pre-diabetes

Have you been told that there is nothing to be done about your rising blood sugar?  With more and more experience and data, we know that type 2 Diabetes, Pre-diabetes, and increasing insulin resistance can be effected by how you eat, move, and think.  We have experience in gettin people off of their medicines and improving their longterm health.

Types Of Diabetes

There are a few different types of diabetes, with each type of diabetes featuring its own unique symptoms, causes, and treatments.

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks and destroys pancreatic cells that produce insulin. About 10% of people with diabetes have this type. This usually begins in childhood.
  • Type 2 diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to the insulin hormone, and as a result causing sugar to build up in your blood. This usually happens later in adulthood, however, with modern living, this is occurring more and more in teens and school aged children.
  • Prediabetes, or insulin resistance, occurs when your blood sugar (measured as A1c) is higher than normal, but not yet high enough for an official type 2 diabetes diagnosis.  This puts you at risk for developing diabetes and is the easiest to reverse.
  • Finally, gestational diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar during pregnancy – a result of Insulin-blocking hormones secreted by the placenta and insulin resistance or prediabetes.

Diabetes Symptoms

Overall, diabetes symptoms are triggered by rising blood sugar levels.

The general symptoms of diabetes include:

  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • weight loss (type 1)
  • weight gain (type 2)
  • frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • extreme fatigue
  • sores that don’t heal

Beyond the general diabetes symptoms, men with diabetes may experience a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and oftentimes poor muscle strength.

For women with diabetes, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin are common symptoms.

Most women with gestational diabetes don’t show any symptoms. Oftentimes, the condition is detected during a routine blood sugar test performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of gestation. In some cases, a woman with gestational diabetes will experience increased thirst or urination. Often, women will have larger than usual babies.

Causes of Diabetes

Each type of diabetes has its own root causes, and our team at Deena Neff, MD is specialized to identify what’s going on and craft a customized game plan for you.

Lifestyle, chronic inflammation and stealth infections are among the causes for type 1 diabetes – causing the immune system to attack and destroy insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes stems from a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight or obese increases your risk, and carrying extra belly fat makes your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin. Frequently, type 2 diabetes runs in families.

Gestational diabetes is the result of hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that make a pregnant woman’s cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin, causing high blood sugar during pregnancy. Women who are overweight (when they get pregnant or who gain too much weight during their pregnancy) are also more likely to get gestational diabetes.

The Link Between Diet and Diabetes

Eating healthier should be the primary approach to address diabetes. In many cases, simply changing your diet (along with some form of exercise) may be enough to control the disease without prescription drugs.

For type 1 diabetes, the foods you eat influence your blood sugar levels – starchy or sugary foods (with a high glycemic index) cause your blood sugar levels to peak quickly, whereas protein and fat cause more gradual increases. Type 1 diabetics need insulin to stay alive, but how much depends on their diet, and their lifestyle influences their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in addition.

As your care team, we may recommend for you to limit the amount of processed sugars, flours and carbohydrates you eat each day, along with balancing your carb intake with your insulin doses. One of our dietitian partners can help you design a diabetes meal plan so you are getting the appropriate balance between proteins, fats, and carbs… so you can easier control your blood sugar!

Similarly for type 2 diabetes, simply consuming the right types of foods will assist with weight loss as well as better control over your blood sugar. We typically employ a mix of strategies including monitoring carb intake, and possibly utilizing a ketogenic diet.

Any good meal plan for diabetes emphasizes healthy foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fish and health fats such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts.

Eating a well-balanced diet during pregnancy is especially important, and making the right food choices can altogether avoid the need for diabetes prescription medications. You should watch your portion sizes, and generally limit sugary or salty foods as much as possible. Although you need some carbohydrates to feed your growing baby, you should avoid eating too much and ones that are processed.

Diagnosing Diabetes

If you’re suspecting your symptoms might be related to diabetes or blood sugar metabolism, getting a fasting plasma glucose (FPG)and A1C blood test are the first steps. The FPG test measures your blood sugar after you’ve fasted for 8 hours, while the A1C test provides a snapshot of your blood sugar levels over the previous 2 months. This is available from any primary care doctor.  What we do at Deena Neff, MD is look beyond the diagnosis, seek out the root causes of a broken metabolism, and are experts at reversing pre-diabetes and potentially diabetes (type 2).

The earlier you get diagnosed with diabetes, the sooner you can start addressing the root causes – feel free to schedule a complementary phone consultation to see what the best next steps are for you.