More than 100 million Americans live with diabetes or prediabetes, which can severely impact your health and well-being. At his practice in Encinitas, California, Robert L. Stephenson, MD, offers expert diabetes care to help you manage your blood sugar levels and maintain your health. If you have diabetes or are concerned about this widespread disease, call Dr. Stephenson or make an appointment online today.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops when your body either doesn’t produce insulin or doesn’t use insulin correctly. Insulin is a hormone produced in your pancreas that helps your body convert glucose — blood sugar — into energy.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. Also known as insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body isn’t able to use insulin to convert glucose into energy. While there is a hereditary element, your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases if you’re overweight, lead a sedentary lifestyle, or have a high-sugar diet.
Juvenile, or Type 1, diabetes is less common. It occurs when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to meet your body’s needs. Type 1 diabetes is primarily genetic and is believed to be the result of an immunologic malfunction in which your immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-making cells in your pancreas.
In many cases, you may not notice any symptoms of diabetes. In fact, many of the people who have prediabetes may not even know they are at risk of developing the disease. However, some of the symptoms associated with diabetes include:
The best way to screen for diabetes is to have blood work at your annual physical. Dr. Stephenson can monitor your glucose level, a critical indicator of diabetes. When diabetes is caught in its early stages, it’s sometimes possible to manage your health with some lifestyle modifications.
Dr. Stephenson provides comprehensive diabetes care. Monitoring your glucose levels with regular lab tests and follow-up appointments are the cornerstone of your treatment plan. After your diagnosis, frequent appointments allow Dr. Stephenson to gauge the effectiveness of your treatment.
He recommends changing your diet to cut out processed foods and unnecessary sugars. He also suggests that you add at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise — like a brisk walk — to your daily routine. Removing extra sugar from your diet and getting more exercise not only helps your body to use insulin more effectively, but also helps you to reach and maintain a healthy body weight, which also contributes to efficient insulin production and use.
If necessary, Dr. Stephenson can also prescribe medication to control your symptoms. For example, if you have Type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin every day to make up your body not making the hormone. Some people with Type 2 diabetes also benefit from daily insulin.
If you’re concerned about diabetes, call Dr. Stephenson or make an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and treatment.