Did you know more than 30 million Americans have diabetes and more than 84 million have prediabetes? Did you know that in 2015, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States? Diabetes puts you at risk for developing other health problems as well. It’s important to understand the different types of diabetes, the risks and how to treat it.
- If you missed our live interview with Marci Wright, MS, RD/LD, Certified Diabetes Educator at UT Health Tyler, you can watch it here! In this interview, Marci explains what diabetes is, the risk factors and how it can be treated.
- We spoke with Dr. Charles Keith, bariatric surgeon at the UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center about the benefits of bariatric surgery for people with diabetes. Watch the interview here!
- Dr. Evans Smith from the UT Health East Texas Wound Healing Center talks with us about the importance of wound care for people with Diabetes. Watch the interview here!
Diabetes and You
Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which your body does not produce insulin. Your body breaks down carbs into blood sugar for energy, and uses insulin to take it from your bloodstream to your body’s cells. Type 1 diabetes is treated with different types of insulin therapy. The type and dosage vary by person and will be determined by you and your doctor.
Research shows that type 1 diabetes comes from interactions with genes, the environment and the immune system. According to the American Diabetes Association, “you inherit a predisposition to the disease, then something in your environment triggers it.” However, many people considered “at risk” do not get diabetes.
While type 1 diabetes most commonly occurs in children and young adults, it occur at any age. People with type 1 diabetes can live very healthy lives with proper management and care. It’s important to know the symptoms. Early detection and treatment can decrease the risk of complications.
Common symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:
- Frequent urination.
- Feeling very thirsty.
- Feeling hungry, even while you’re eating.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Blurred vision.
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal.
- Weight loss, even when you’re eating more.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs when your body does not use the insulin it produces properly. Medication or insulin may be needed to manage type 2 diabetes, but a healthy diet and exercise are key components of treatment. Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented. It’s important to know if you’re at risk.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes include:
- Age, if over 45.
- Family history of type 2 diabetes.
- Lack of regular physical activity.
- High blood pressure.
- Low HDL cholesterol levels.
- Diabetes during pregnancy.
Diabetes and Your Heart
Having type 2 diabetes makes you two to four times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke. In the United States, an adult with diabetes is hospitalized for heart disease every 80 seconds. For adults over 60, type 2 diabetes combined with cardiovascular disease can shorten life expectancy by an average of 12 years.
By managing your diabetes and risk factors, heart disease can be delayed or in some cases, avoided. Talk to your healthcare provider to help monitor your risk factors, such as blood sugar levels, weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
UT Health East Texas offers cardiac care at our facilities across East Texas. UT Health Tyler is an accredited chest pain center, providing expertise and a commitment to treating patients with heart attack symptoms.
Diabetes and Your Weight
There is often a correlation between weight and type 2 diabetes. If you are overweight, your chance of developing type 2 diabetes greatly increases. Being overweight also can have other health risks, including heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol and more. Losing weight can be difficult and takes time, but losing just 10-15 pounds can have a great impact on your overall health.
Our physicians at UT Health East Texas want to help. Dr. Ryan Menard, a board-certified family medicine and obesity medicine physician, offers a weight-management clinic. During your visit, Dr. Menard will cover many aspects related to weight, including a dietary and activity assessment, cardiovascular and metabolic risk assessment, as well as medication assistance to help lose weight and improve health and more.
We also have a bariatric surgery clinic, UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center, with two bariatric surgeons, Dr. Hugh Babineau and Dr. Charles Keith. Both are board-certified in general surgery and specialize in bariatric surgery. In addition to providing significant weight loss, bariatric surgery can help improve diabetes and decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Diabetes and Your Wounds
Foot and wound care are very important for people with diabetes. They often have peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which reduces blood flow to the feet, making it easier to get ulcers and infections. Depending on the severity of the infection, it may only be treatable with amputation. Most diabetic amputations are preventable with proper care and footwear.
Our wound healing clinics can help. The Wound Healing Center in Tyler is an accredited clinical hyperbaric medicine facility, one of only 203 in the nation. Our providers will design a specific treatment plan to meet your needs.
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes can affect your vision, even to the point of blindness. The blood vessels in the back of your eyes can become damaged, leading to bleeding and fluid leaking into the retina. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy (DR) and it can affect anyone with diabetes, no matter if it’s type 1, type 2 or gestational. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely the condition is to occur, however, the better you control your blood sugars, the less risk you have. Anyone with diabetes should receive annual eye exams.
Our clinics at Cedar Creek Lake in Gun Barrel City and 5th St. in Tyler can help by offering all patients with diabetes an IRIS exam. This is a simple and easy eye exam for early detection of DR to help prevent blindness in patients with diabetes. During the exam, the patient is placed in a dark room to allow the eyes to dilate. The technician will take several photos inside the eye. Nothing will actually touch the eye, only bright light flashes from the camera. The tech will send the photos to IRIS for processing and your provider will receive the results.
Since October 2018, our clinics have captured more than 750 exams using this IRIS platform and almost 50% of cases identified DR or signs of DR. Many patients don’t know they have this condition until it affects their vision, so early detection is key. Early detection and treatment can reduce your risk of blindness by 95%.
To schedule an appointment, call 903-596-DOCS.
Information provided by the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association.