Prediabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to merit a diabetes diagnosis. However, many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, diabetes mellitus, is a metabolism disorder, referring to the way our bodies use digested food for energy and growth. Most of what we eat is broken down into glucose, a form of sugar in the blood and the principal source of fuel and energy for our bodies. There are three types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: Insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, or early-onset diabetes—the body produces little or no insulin because the pancreatic cells that make insulin stop working. This results in high blood sugar.
- Type 2 diabetes: Insulin resistance is the most common type of diabetes, occurring most often in adulthood and often among people with obesity. Over time, as the body repeatedly secretes insulin in large quantities, the cells become less sensitive and no longer respond to insulin the same way. When this happens, the cells do not get fed and blood sugars rise to dangerous levels.
- Gestational diabetes: Affects women during pregnancy and results in progressively rising levels of glucose.
Your primary care physician works with you to manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of complications with a personalized approach:
- Type 1 diabetes often requires daily injection with insulin since your body does not produce the insulin needed to absorb blood glucose.
- Type 2 diabetes means your body produces insulin, but does not react to it correctly so you need an oral medication to help regulate insulin. Together with proper nutrition and exercise, weight loss can also help manage blood glucose levels.
Treatment for diabetes includes:
- A complete physical along with your full medical history: measure your height, weight, blood pressure, check your mouth, eyes, abdomen, take your pulse, look at your hands and fingers and feet, listen to your heart and lungs, check your skin—especially where you inject insulin, test your reflexes, check dates of how and when you are diagnosed with diabetes, discuss past lab test results, discuss your eating habits, exercise levels, discuss current treatment plan and any incidence of infections or ketoacidosis, or low blood sugar reactions, discuss complication, other medicines you may be taking, other lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption, and family history.
- Tests including blood and urine to determine your glucose level, your glycated hemoglobin level, your cholesterol and fat levels and your urine protein levels.
- A treatment plan that helps you manage your diabetes, and may involve other specialists such as nutritionists and endocrinologists. Your treatment plan is customized to you—to your work or school schedule, level of activity, your food preferences, cultural factors, your medications, and your care is coordinated with other specialists—all of whom are your diabetes team.
- Main Line Health offers classes on diabetes and meal planning, or you may be prescribed one-on-one nutritional counseling with one of our registered dietitians.