Diabetes Specialists

Diabetes is on the rise in Maryland, affecting about 12% of adults in the state. When not properly managed, diabetes may increase your risk of developing other serious health complications. Read on to learn what diabetes is, the different types of diabetes there are, and the causes. We will also discuss how diabetes can be diagnosed, treated, and prevented.

Quality Primary Care is providing diabetes treatments at Rockville and Gaithersburg, Maryland. If you would like to know how we can help you, book an appointment today!

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What is Diabetes?

Diabetes (or diabetes mellitus) is a condition where your blood sugar levels are too high. This could be due to your pancreas not creating enough insulin or because your body isn’t responding to the effects of insulin properly.

The sugar or glucose gets into your blood mainly through the carbohydrates you eat and drink. Your blood then carries it to your cells to use as energy. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter into the cells. If your pancreas is not developing enough insulin or your body isn’t using it properly, then glucose builds up, causing high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).

If blood sugar levels remain high, it can damage blood vessels in the heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves, causing health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage. Diabetes has also been linked to high blood pressure.

Types of Diabetes

There are several different types of diabetes. These include:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: This is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is typically diagnosed in children and young adults but can also develop at any age.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t make enough insulin and/or your body does not respond to insulin as it should. This is the most prevalent type of diabetes.
  • Prediabetes: This is a stage before Type 2 diabetes. You have an elevated blood sugar level but not enough to be classed as type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational Diabetes: This can occur during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born. However, having gestational diabetes puts you at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.
  • Other Types: Type 3c, Latent Autoimmune Diabetes (LADA), MODY, Neonatal, and Brittle diabetes have distinct causes and characteristics.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

Diabetes symptoms include the following:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Sores or cuts that take time to heal

The Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes is caused by too much glucose in your bloodstream. The reason for the high glucose levels varies depending on the type of diabetes. Some of the causes of diabetes include the following:

  • Insulin Resistance: This occurs when your muscle, liver, and fat cells stop responding to insulin as they should. This is often related to factors like obesity, inactivity, diet, genetics, and certain medications. This is often the cause of type 2 diabetes.
  • Autoimmune Disease: Type 1 diabetes and LADA result from your immune system attacking insulin-producing cells.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: You may develop gestational diabetes because of pregnancy-related hormones. Hormone-related conditions such as Cushing syndrome and acromegaly can also lead to Type 2 diabetes.
  • Pancreatic Damage: Damage to your pancreas through surgery or injury can impair insulin production.
  • Genetic Mutations: Can cause MODY and neonatal diabetes.
  • Medication Side Effects: Long-term use of certain medications, like HIV/AIDS drugs and corticosteroids, may contribute to Type 2 diabetes.

How is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Diabetes is diagnosed by checking your blood glucose level in a blood test. Various types of tests can be used, including the following:

  • Fasting blood glucose test: After 8 hours without eating or drinking anything except water, you will measure your blood glucose. This will show your baseline blood sugar level.
  • Random blood glucose test: You can take this test at any time. There is no need to fast.
  • A1c or HbA1C: Also called the glycated hemoglobin test. It will give your average blood glucose level over the past two to three months.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test: This test is used to diagnose gestational diabetes.

How to Treat Diabetes

Dr. Suresh Malik and the team at Quality Primary Care will develop an individualized diabetes treatment plan for you based on the type of diabetes you have, your blood sugar numbers, and your overall health.

Managing diabetes may include:

  • Insulin injections (for Type 1 diabetes and sometimes Type 2 diabetes)
  • Oral hypoglycemic medication (for Type 2 diabetes)
  • Diet modification
  • An exercise program
  • Stress management
  • Weight loss

The team can also teach you how to monitor your blood glucose levels at home. Monitoring your blood sugar is an essential part of managing diabetes. It will show how various factors—such as diet, exercise, stress, and infection—affect your blood sugar levels. 

Can Diabetes Be Prevented?

Autoimmune and genetic forms of diabetes cannot be prevented. However, there are many other diabetes risk factors that you have some control over. Preventative measures include the following:

  • Eat healthily
  • Get physically active
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce stress
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Stop smoking

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you are looking for a diabetes specialist in Rockville or Gaithersburg, MD, give Quality Primary Care a call. Our doctors offer tailored treatments to help you manage your diabetes effectively and improve your overall health. Contact us today to book your appointment!

Medically reviewed by
Suresh Malik, MD