Diabetes Specialist

Be The Change Health &
Wellness Center

Family Practice & Integrative Medicine located
in Columbia, MD

More than 30 million people have diabetes in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sultana Afrooz, DO, and the team at Be The Change Health & Wellness Center in Columbia, Maryland, are committed to reducing that number. They use integrative therapies and a holistic approach to prevent and manage diabetes. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book online today.

Diabetes Q & A

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs when your blood sugar, or blood glucose, is too high. Your body uses the glucose in the food you eat to create energy with a hormone called insulin. Without an adequate amount of insulin, your body can’t use that glucose efficiently, leading to a buildup of glucose in your blood.

When your blood sugar gets too high, it can cause serious health problems, including kidney damage, heart disease, vision problems, and nerve damage.

Are there different types of diabetes?

Be The Change Health & Wellness Center treats the three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes

Typically diagnosed during childhood or early adulthood, Type 1 diabetes means your body isn’t producing insulin. In addition to practicing healthy habits, such as exercise and a clean diet, most people with Type 1 diabetes take insulin daily.

Type 2 diabetes

If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or isn’t using it effectively. While you can develop Type 2 diabetes at any time — even during childhood — it often occurs during middle age or late adulthood.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes can occur when you are pregnant. Though it typically disappears after you give birth, gestational diabetes raises your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

If you have prediabetes, also known as borderline diabetes, diet and lifestyle modifications can significantly improve your chances of avoiding a diabetes diagnosis.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common signs are:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness in your hands or feet
  • Frequent urination
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Slow-healing wounds or sores

Another telltale sign of diabetes is experiencing frequent infections, such as vaginal infections or infections of the gums.

What causes diabetes?

While a lack of insulin causes diabetes, some common factors that raise your risk of the disease include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Genetics/family history of diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Damage to the pancreas
  • Certain medications
  • Having gestational diabetes
  • Being age 45 or older
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Both thyroid and adrenal gland dysfunction disorders also increase your risk of developing diabetes and complications related to the disease, as they can impair your body’s tolerance to glucose and lead to insulin resistance. In particular, your thyroid gland plays a vital role in metabolism regulation, which can amplify your diabetes symptoms and increase your risk of complications. This can also trigger chronic fatigue.

How is diabetes treated?

Be The Change Health & Wellness Center takes a holistic approach to diabetes treatment and encourages prevention, if possible. For most patients, this means making significant lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Following a healthy diet
  • Losing weight
  • Exercising at least 30 minutes a day
  • Avoiding high-sugar foods and junk food
  • Quitting smoking
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Taking insulin (if necessary)

Your provider may also recommend supplements that can help you manage or prevent diabetes.

With early intervention and regular visits to Be The Change Health & Wellness Center, you can manage your diabetes effectively. To seek treatment, call the office or request an appointment online today.