Initially, your physician may prescribe a medication called Metformin. If you are overweight, weight loss can help to control diabetes. In fact, lifestyle changes have been shown to be more effective in new on-set diabetes and pre-diabetes than Metformin in controlling blood glucose. A registered dietitian who specializes in diabetes can evaluate your diet, prepare an individualized meal plan and teach you carbohydrate counting. As a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) I have helped many patients control their diabetes with little or no medication.
Diagnosis of Diabetes
A simple blood test will tell you if you have diabetes or 'pre-diabetes'. A fasting glucose or a hemoglobin AIC will give your physician the information needed to determine whether you have elevated glucose levels. Symptoms of very high glucose levels include fatigue, sudden weight loss, excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision or tingling/numbness in the feet. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule and appointment with your physician immediately. Untreated, high glucose levels can lead to coma that requires immediate hospitalization.
Diabetes is a medical condition that affects a vital organ called the pancreas. The pancreas is located behind the left lowest rib in the front of your body. (See picture) This organ has many functions including the regulation of your blood sugar. Within the pancreas are beta cells that produce a hormone called insulin. Once these cells are damaged or destroyed they can not be replaced.
When you eat, insulin is produced to lower your blood sugar. Even when you sleep, a small amount of insulin is produced. In diabetes, the ability to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels within normal limits is decreased. This leads to elevated levels of glucose or sugar in the blood. The more you weigh the more insulin needs to be produced to keep glucose levels normal. Unfortunately, until glucose levels are very high you probably will not notice any symptoms.