Diabetes

Steven L. Saunders, MD, LLC

Internal Medicine located in Milford, CT

More than 30 million people in the United States — or about 9% of the entire population — live with diabetes, a severe chronic illness that causes dangerously high blood sugar levels and a variety of complications. Board-certified internist Steven L. Saunders, MD, MBA, FACP, is committed to providing diabetic patients with the medical treatment and self-management skills they need to keep the condition under control and lead a long, healthy life. To learn more, call Steven L. Saunders, MD, LLC, in Milford, Connecticut, today or book your appointment online any time.

Diabetes Q & A

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic, systemic disease that occurs when the body does not produce or process insulin correctly, causing abnormally high blood sugar levels. There are two different types:

Type 1 diabetes

Often referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, this condition occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood and is more likely to affect those who have a family history of the disorder.

Type 2 diabetes

Although it’s mostly preventable, type 2 diabetes accounts for the vast majority of diabetes cases. It occurs when your pancreas no longer produces enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in check; it can also happen if your body becomes insulin-resistant or stops using insulin efficiently.

What are the early signs of type 2 diabetes?

Most people who develop type 2 diabetes go through two precursor stages first: Insulin resistance and prediabetes. During these phases of disease progression, symptoms are often mild or slow to emerge.

When symptoms finally do begin to emerge, they can vary greatly among individuals. Common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Extreme thirst or hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Numb hands or feet

 

As the disease continues to progress, some people begin to experience frequent infections or skin sores that are slow to heal.

Am I at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Although medical researchers don’t yet understand why some people are more likely to have type 2 diabetes than others, they’ve discovered that certain factors can considerably increase your risk of developing the disease. Major type 2 diabetes risk factors include:   

Excess weight and inactivity

Being overweight or obese is the most significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes; leading a sedentary lifestyle also makes you more likely to develop the disease.

Age and ethnicity

Advancing age increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially once you reach your mid-forties. You’re also more likely to be affected you if you’re of Hispanic, African, or Native American descent.  

Unhealthy blood pressure and lipid levels

Having blood pressure levels that consistently measure higher than 140/90 boosts your chances of becoming diabetic, as does having high triglycerides or low HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

How is diabetes treated?

When it comes to managing diabetes, early diagnosis can be pivotal to attaining the treatments and interventions that will help you control your condition, prevent complications, and lead a full, active life.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you require insulin to stay healthy; if you have type 2 diabetes, you may need insulin to control your condition, or you may be able to maintain normal blood sugar levels by staying active, eating a nutritious diet, and making other healthy lifestyle modifications.  

Dr. Saunders offers comprehensive care for adult patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, ranging from early diagnosis to medical management and lifestyle interventions, including medically supervised weight loss. He also provides treatment for prediabetes to help you avoid diagnosis.

To learn more about effective diabetes management strategies, call Steven L. Saunders, MD, LLC, or schedule an appointment online today.