What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where blood glucose rises beyond what is physiologically normal.  This leads to cardiovascular complications if left untreated.  In the short term though, it often manifests as symptoms like excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision. 

It is important to screen individuals who are at high risk for diabetes as long term complications are preventable like strokes and heart attacks as well as other issues like autonomic and peripheral neuropathy and retinopathy which can lead to visual impairment or even blindness.

If you already have some of these complications, there are good treatments available that help prevent the progression which we will discuss with you.

How do you treat diabetes?

Diabetes can be treated effectively but first the correct form of diabetes, stage and severity needs to be identified.  

Not all forms of diabetes fall neatly into categories but generally the major ones are:

Type 1 diabetes

This is due to the lack of insulin production usually starting in childhood or young adulthood and is caused by the immune system destroying the pancreas.

Insulin is required in Type 1 diabetes and we can guide you on the necessary method of delivering the insulin. This can be by injections with pen devices or insulin pump therapy with or without continuous glucose monitoring.

Type 2 diabetes

This is due to insulin resistance in the body and commonly part of a larger collection of conditions called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome includes other conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout and central adiposity.

Treatment involves a biopsychosocial approach which includes lifestyle change along with medication.  Medications can sometimes involve insulin but unlike Type 1, is not always and often not needed.

Gestational Diabetes

This is due to pregnancy hormones causing insulin resistance.

Like Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle change can make a big difference but frequently insulin is also required for a short time during pregnancy.  This is to ensure that the baby is not exposed to high levels of glucose from the mother.

We also treat the following diabetes forms:

Less Commonly Known forms of Diabetes
Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young
Cystic fibrosis associated Diabetes
Steroid induced diabetes
Chronic pancreatitis 

How can I prevent getting diabetes and its complications?

If you have a concern about getting diabetes or its related complications like heart attacks or strokes, come in for a comprehensive review of your risk factors. We will tailor a holistic program not just looking at diabetes and medications but review lifestyle factors that help prevent progression of the disease.

Other risk factors like your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight are important to address. We will come up with a holistic program from medication to improvements in nutrition, physical activity, stress management and sleep medicine are needed.   

The plan is formulated together with you to suit your individual circumstances.  Not one size fits all.   

It is also important to look at ways to modify psychosocial factors which have an impact on diabetes.  This may include having those whom you live with come along to the consultation for support.  This is the biopsychosocial model of medicine in day to day practice.