Diabetes Services

Diabetes is a very common and complex disorder that requires ongoing management. It is a chronic disease in which the body either does not make enough insulin or is unable to use it properly, resulting in a build-up of sugars and fats in the bloodstream. Complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes can include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputations.

Frequently there are no symptoms with type 2 diabetes, the most common form. However, if you do experience any of these symptoms, you should tell your doctor:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unusual hunger
  • Nausea
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Impotence (in men)
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Infections that are slow to heal
  • Blurred vision

The American Diabetes Association recommends that everyone aged 45 and older be screened every 3 years for diabetes. If any other of the following risk factors are also present, consider screening earlier and more often. The screen is a simple blood test. ECHN offers many convenient locations for blood tests.

Risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Family history of diabetes (parent or sibling)
  • History of gestational diabetes or delivery of babies over 9 pounds
  • History of pre-diabetes
  • Race/ethnicity (being an African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, Native American, or Pacific Islander)
  • Age 45 or older
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol and/or triglyceride level

Although there is no cure for diabetes, it can be successfully managed using a team approach. Doctors who treat patients with diabetes include endocrinologists, internists, and family doctors.

Diabetes educators are also key members of your diabetes management team. They are health care professionals who work with you to create a self-management plan that meets your particular needs and fits your lifestyle. Their focus is on creating a personalized care plan for you, and providing counseling and education that promote these self-care behaviors:

  • Healthy eating
  • Being active
  • Monitoring blood sugars
  • Taking medication as needed
  • Solving day to day problems, including sick day management
  • Reducing risk for related complications
  • Healthy coping and stress management

 

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