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Are you or your child prediabetic? Or have you recently been diagnosed with diabetes? Or maybe you’ve had diabetes for years, but have trouble managing it or want to try and reduce your medication. We understand how managing diabetes can be difficult. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We believe the first step in managing your blood sugar levels is understanding the science behind diabetes and what you can do to reduce your risk of complications.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a long-lasting disease that affects the way your body turns food into energy. Your body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar levels increase, your pancreas gets a message to release a hormone called insulin. The insulin acts as a gatekeeper that then allows the glucose into your cells, providing them with energy.
When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When you don’t have enough insulin or your cells stop responding to insulin, too much glucose stays in your bloodstream.
There isn’t a cure for diabetes, but you can manage it.
What Are the Different Types of Diabetes?
There are 3 main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while you’re pregnant.) Types 1 and 2 are chronic diseases, while gestational diabetes can go away on its own after you give birth.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a condition for life. It used to be called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. It usually first develops in children and teens, but can develop at any age. When you have Type 1, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. This means the blood sugar (glucose) builds up in your blood stream instead of entering your cells like it should. As a result, you must get the insulin you need through insulin shots, which your doctor will prescribe.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
You may have type 1 diabetes for years with no symptoms, or have symptoms that come on quite suddenly. They can include:
- You pee a lot, often at night
- You’re very thirsty, all the time
- You have unexplained weight loss
- You’re very hungry
- Your vision is blurry
- Your hands or feet get numb or tingle
- You’re fatigued
- You have very dry skin
- You have sores that take a long time to heal
- You get a lot of infections
What Causes Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself by mistake. In this case, an autoimmune reaction attacks the cells in your pancreas, disrupting the production and release of insulin into your blood stream. It’s not known what causes the autoimmune reaction.
Type 1 also has a genetic component. A child of a parent with Type 1 is more likely to develop T1D as well. Scientists believe there are also environmental factor, such as a virus that triggers the disease.
Your weight, diet, and habits do not cause type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is when your body develops insulin resistance, and doesn’t respond to the insulin as it should. Your pancreas thinks it needs to make more insulin, causing your blood sugar level rise. 90-95 % of Americans who have diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes is Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Prediabetes is a precursor, or warning, that you are on track to develop T2D. Your blood sugar levels are elevated, but not high enough to qualify as diabetes. Since you may never show any symptoms of prediabetes or T2D, it’s important to see your doctor regularly, and get your blood tested if you have any of the known risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.
Risk factors include:
- Having prediabetes
- Being overweight
- Are 45 years or older
- Have a parent or sibling with diabetes
- Live a sedentary lifestyle
- Have had gestational diabetes
Prediabetes is reversible, and type 2 is not curable, but with diet and exercise you may be able to go off medications.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
You may not know that you have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes until you have a blood test. If you have any of the above risk factors, your doctor will likely order blood work to check.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
While genetics can put you more at risk of type 2 diabetes, most of the causes are obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise. So, some simple lifestyle changes can help prevent you from getting T2D.
As the name implies, gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can develop while you’re pregnant. Weight gain and hormonal changes during pregnancy cause your body’s cells to use insulin less effectively than they should. This is known as insulin resistance. Your OB will likely test you for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks.
If you have gestational diabetes, your baby is at higher risk of:
- Weighing 9 lbs. or more, which can make delivery more difficult (possibly requiring a C-section)
- Being premature, which can cause breathing and other problems
- Having low blood sugar
- Developing type 2 diabetes later in life
While gestational diabetes will go away when your baby is born, you’re at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
How Cima Health Can HelpCima Health provides restorative, lifelong solutions that target your diabetic symptoms and help you manage your diabetes. Your care will start out with a comprehensive evaluation to assess your overall health. We will also ask questions about your work and home life, lifestyle, and habits before making recommendations for an integrative plan of care. Together, we come up with non-invasive and successful treatments. The goal is to help you keep your blood sugars in a normal range and reduce the need for medication management. We want to inspire you to achieve whole-body wellness, and live a long and healthy life. Helping you reduce your blood sugars and possibly avoid taking medication involves several treatment modalities, all of which you can receive in one location. They include:
Chiropractic CareDid you know that chiropractic care can help you manage the symptoms of your diabetes? Chiropractic adjustments reduce pressure on your nerves and improve the communication between your brain and the rest of your body (such as the pancreas). This in turn helps to improve effective generation of insulin. And if back pain or joint pain is keeping you inactive, we can provide adjustments to relieve your pain and inspire you to increase your physical activity. Our Palm Beach Gardens chiropractors are all highly trained professionals and include: pediatric care. And if you have gestational diabetes, she can help you as well, as her other area of focus is prenatal and postnatal care.
Medical CareIf you have hip pain, knee pain, or ankle pain that is stopping you from leading an active lifestyle, you may be a candidate for joint injections from the medical care team. We avoid steroid injections for diabetics, and instead recommend hyaluronic acid (HA) injections for knee pain. We also offer Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. PRP is another treatment where we help your body heal itself. Using your own plasma, we can help your body heal tissue, tendons, and muscles faster.
Functional MedicineOur functional medicine team will play an integral part in you or your child learning how to manage your diabetes, and even reverse prediabetes. We’ll start with a blood chemistry analysis that can shed light on everything going on in your body right now, and not just the diabetes. Based on the test results and our conversations with you, we’ll develop a plan that may include:
- Meal plans for a diabetes diet
- Weight loss supplements
- Weight loss tips
- Stress reduction tips
- Calls for you to stop smoking if you currently smoke
Physical FitnessAn integral part of any plan to reduce high blood glucose levels and manage your blood sugars is getting plenty of exercise. Regular exercise also reduces your risk of heart disease and nerve damage. Combined with a healthy diet, exercising more will help you lose weight faster and get your Type 2 diabetes under control. Our physical fitness team of personal trainers can help develop an exercise plan that works with your current capabilities and inspires you to meet or exceed your weekly goals. As you gain strength and increase endurance, you can increase your aerobic exercise, increase weight on the machines, and increase your reps. We’ll be with you every step of the way to keep you motivated and on track. You’ll feel more energized, sleep better, and feel better overall. And since our gym has 24/7 availability, you can exercise no matter what your schedule is.
Massage TherapyMassage therapy can also play a role in reducing blood glucose levels and reduce pain from peripheral neuropathy. A recent review of studies lays out the evidence. Discuss with your doctor what type of massage would be most beneficial. Massage can reduce stress, and therefore stress eating, which can be a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. It can also reduce muscle, back, and joint pain, which are keeping you inactive. The entire team at Cima Health works together to provide you with restorative, lifelong solutions.
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Managing your diabetes or preventing it is easier with a support team. If you’re ready to reduce your risk of diabetes or learn to manage it better, book an appointment today. One of our chiropractors will do a comprehensive examination to get to the root cause of your diabetes and develop an integrative plan of care to help you manage your blood sugars, and inspire you to achieve whole-body wellness.