Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism Disorders
Diabetes Type 1
Type 1 diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas. It affects certain cells in the pancreas (called Beta Cells). When these cells are affected by viruses or autoimmune conditions they stop producing insulin hormone which is absolutely necessary for life. Without the insulin, the blood glucose (sugar) cannot enter the cells (in order to participate in numerous metabolic processes) but accumulates in the bloodstream and produces damage to the entire body and all organs. The most susceptible are cells of blood vessels walls, kidneys, nerve cells, retina, etc. Treatment with insulin restores the normal glucose metabolism but this requires very intense management.
Type 1 diabetes can develop suddenly or gradually and can affect all ages: children, teens, young adults, and pretty much any age.
Diabetes Type 2
According to CDC [Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html] more than 37 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. We can say that diabetes type 2 has epidemic proportions. It develops slowly (sometimes it may take up to 5-6 years for diagnosis) and “runs in families”. Even though in type 2 diabetes there is enough insulin (the hormone that lets the sugars to enter in the cells), the cells do not respond normally to insulin – this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas will try to overcome this situation by producing even more insulin. This excessive insulin will contribute to more weight gain and many metabolic dysfunctions. At some point, despite the high level of insulin, the normal blood glucose cannot be maintained and diabetes develops. There are many treatments for type 2 diabetes that work in many different ways but sometimes insulin is also required for type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens and young adults are also developing it. Many times you can find mildly abnormal blood glucose that, if treated correctly and timely may prevent development of type 2 diabetes (see prediabetes).
Other types of Diabetes
Beside type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus there are other types of diabetes, less often found: gestational and pregnancy induced diabetes, postpancreatectomy diabetes, steroid induced diabetes, MODY (maturity onset diabetes of the young), neonatal diabetes, LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults, cystic fibrosis diabetes and others).
Prediabetes is a REVERSIBLE condition. That means if you look for it and diagnose it timely you can avoid developing type 2 diabetes. In prediabetes the pancreas (beta cells) are working hard to produce insulin and keep blood glucose in normal limits most of the time.
According to CDC [Center for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/truth-about-prediabetes.html ] about 1 in 3 adults have prediabetes and 8 in 10 of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Even though prediabetes is mostly SILENT and does not give you symptoms, if you aggressively pursue lifestyle changes meant to reduce insulin resistance (low carbohydrate diet, avoid processed foods and drinks, regular exercise, normal sleep hygiene, etc) you can postpone or avoid becoming diabetic (which is no longer a reversible condition for majority of patients). Even though in prediabetes the blood sugar is higher than normal, (but not high enough yet for a diabetes diagnosis) you can have changes in many tissues and organs (nerve cells, blood vessels, bone tissue, etc). Prediabetes gives you increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, infections kidney disease as well as low trauma fractures (osteoporosis) despite having normal or almost normal bone density test. Address prediabetes when you can reverse it! Make an appointment today.
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. It develops gradually and increases your risk for other disorders: heart disease and heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes, cancers. There are many reasons and causes for obesity: some inherited, other physiological, environmental or hormonal problems; many combined with stress, a diet rich in processed foods, inactivity, sleep disturbances, etc. Even though it is not easy and involves addressing many factors, there are many options for weight loss. Even a modest weight loss can bring a lot of improvement in the metabolic state and can prevent many complications associated with obesity. Dietary and behavioral changes, increased physical activity, prescription medications and surgical procedures can help you achieve a healthy weight.
Lipid disorders are many and very different. From the most common like elevated cholesterol and triglycerides to many familial and genetic disorders, it is very important to treat them so you can maintain normal and healthy levels of blood “fats”. Abnormal levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and other lipid fractions will increase your risk for many cardiovascular disorders like heart attacks, strokes, kidney disorders, other vascular disorders, pancreatic disorders, etc. Dietary changes, exercise and many medications are available.
Some medical conditions and medications can cause lipid levels to increase. For example, poorly controlled diabetes, chronic kidney disease, some liver disorders, an underactive thyroid gland, HIV infection, many medications, cigarette smoking can cause the total cholesterol level to increase. Address this issue before complications appear.
The presence of elevated blood pressure, excessive weight (with increased abdominal circumference) and abnormal blood lipids (cholesterol and fats) are not a good combination – it will significantly increase your risk for heart attacks and strokes. This combination of abnormalities is very common and you should ask for help. Treating these conditions aggressively will save your life.