Medicine and Treatment for Diabetes in Murfreesboro, TN
I’m Dr. Helton.
I started practicing medicine in the year 2000, and over the past 19 years have treated and served over 15,000 patients. I’m the current president of the Middle Tennessee chapter of Family Physicians, an Executive board member of the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians and Chairman of St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital Family Medicine Department.
Helton Family Medicine, a Murfreesboro family doctor’s office helps individuals who are struggling with diabetes manage their symptoms. Located in Murfreesboro, TN, Helton Family Medicine is the leader in family care for diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the worlds deadliest chronic diseases. This is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. This acts like a key to let glucose from the food we eat pass from the blood stream into the cells in the body to produce energy. The carbohydrates we take are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells. Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycaemia). Over the long-term high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.
Symptoms of Diabetes vary depending on the level of blood sugar elevation. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may not experience symptoms initially. Type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe.
Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections
Diabetes, if not diagnosed and treated early will impose long-term complications which develop gradually. The lesser controlled your blood sugar level is and the longer you have diabetes — the higher the risk of complications. Eventually, diabetes complications may be disabling or even life-threatening. Possible complications include:
Cardiovascular disease. This is the most common complication of diabetes, which is the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward.
Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.
Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Eye damage (retinopathy). Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal poorly. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected, none has yet been proved.
Depression. Depression symptoms are common in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Depression can affect diabetes management.
Complications of gestational diabetes
Most women who have gestational diabetes deliver healthy babies. However, untreated or uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause problems for you and your baby.
Complications in your baby can occur as a result of gestational diabetes, including:
- Excess growth. Extra glucose can cross the placenta, which triggers your baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin. This can cause your baby to grow too large (macrosomia).
- Very large babies are more likely to require a C-section birth.
- Low blood sugar. Sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth because their own insulin production is high. Prompt feedings and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can return the baby’s blood sugar level to normal.
- Type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies of mothers who have gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Death. Untreated gestational diabetes can result in a baby’s death either before or shortly after birth.
Complications in the mother also can occur as a result of gestational diabetes, including:
Preeclampsia. This condition is characterized by high blood pressure, excess protein in the urine, and swelling in the legs and feet. Preeclampsia can lead to serious or even life-threatening complications for both mother and baby.
Subsequent gestational diabetes. Once you’ve had gestational diabetes in one pregnancy, you’re more likely to have it again with the next pregnancy. You’re also more likely to develop diabetes — typically type 2 diabetes — as you get older.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that cannot be treated at home. Our doctors will help you make a diabetes treatment plan that is right for you — and that you can understand. You may also need other health care professionals on your diabetes treatment team, including a foot doctor, nutritionist, eye doctor, and a diabetes specialist (called an endocrinologist).
Treatment for diabetes requires serious tracking over your blood sugar levels (and keeping them at a goal set by your doctor) with a combination treatment options like medications, exercise, and diet. By paying close attention to your diet and lifestyle, you can minimize or avoid the “seesaw effect” of rapidly changing blood sugar levels, which can require quick changes in medication dosages, especially insulin.
Type 1 Diabetes Treatment:
Insulin injections come in several different forms, with each working slightly differently. Some last up to a whole day (long-acting), some last up to eight hours (short-acting) and some work quickly but don’t last very long (rapid-acting). You’ll most likely need a combination of different insulin preparations.
There are alternatives to insulin injections, but they’re only suitable for a small number of patients. They are:
- insulin pump therapy – where a small device constantly pumps insulin (at a rate you control) into your bloodstream through a needle that’s inserted under the skin
- islet cell transplantation – where healthy insulin-producing cells from the pancreas of a deceased donor are implanted into the pancreas of someone with type 1 diabetes (read about the criteria for having an islet transplant)
- a complete pancreas transplant
Type 2 Diabetes Treatment
You have lots of options to manage diabetes. Diet, exercise, and medication work together to bring your blood sugar under control.
Your doctor will help you figure out if you need to take medicine, which kind is right for you, and how often you should take it.
Over your lifetime, you’ll probably handle your disease in different ways. Sometimes medications stop working, and you’ll have to switch. You’ll need to adjust to changes in your body as you age. And researchers are looking for new diabetes medicines and ways to treat it.
- Healthy Eating
- Lifestlye Change
- Regular exercise
- Possibly, diabetes medication or insulin therapy
- Blood sugar monitoring