Type 2 Diabetes is a growing problem among the American population and worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that roughly 30 million people have Type 2 Diabetes in the United States alone. This is in part due to the prevalence of obesity in children and the increase of people who live sedentary lifestyles and eat a high amount of processed foods. The good news is that in many cases Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented through proper diet and exercise.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when your body does not use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that turns glucose from the food you consume into energy. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for this, but, over time your pancreas isn’t able to keep up and is unable to produce enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels in normal range. As the result, sugar builds up in your blood and in long term will lead to serious complications.
Some symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, fatigue, recurrent infections and frequent yeast infections. Oftentimes Type 2 Diabetes is diagnosed through blood work, but early diabetes can be missed on routine fasting blood work.
Some people have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than others. It is more common among African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian American/Pacific Islanders as well as the aging population. Other risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include an increased BMI that falls into the obesity range, hypertension, and women with a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, those with a family history of diabetes, having autoimmune condition or take steroid on regular basis.
Type 2 Diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes, weight loss, exercise, then oral medications (pills), and may need insulin hormone to help the body use glucose for energy. There are various types of medications and insulin that can be used, tailored to individual patient.
Lifestyle changes are a key component to managing Type 2 diabetes. It’s important to stay within your recommended BMI, eat a balanced diet and get plenty of daily exercise. You and your doctor will find a treatment regime that works best for you. While some people depend on their family physician to manage their Type 2 diabetes, it is often beneficial to see an Endocrinologist.
An Endocrinologist is a specialist who treats those with hormone imbalances from within the endocrine system, including thyroid disorders and diabetes. Many people who have trouble controlling their Type 2 Diabetes are often referred to an endocrinologist to have their medications reassessed. I work with my patients to manage their condition and often include a healthcare team made up of a nutritionist, a fitness trainer, their primary care physician, podiatrist, ophthalmologist, and cardiologist.
There are many benefits to seeing an endocrinologist when you have diabetes. They can help you gain control over the disease so that you maintain your best health and develop a management plan that works for you.