Understanding the Types of Diabetes and How to Manage Them

Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect how well your body uses blood sugar. While your body can use various fuel sources, it relies heavily on glucose. When glucose levels remain too high for too long, damage to the body occurs.

It’s estimated that more than 34 million Americans have diabetes — and many (about 7.3 million) are unaware of it. A diabetes screening test can tell your doctor whether you have or are at risk of having diabetes. Regardless of which form of diabetes you’re diagnosed with, working closely with a health care professional is the cornerstone of managing it.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes accounts for the majority of cases of this disorder. More than 90% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have this form. Having Type 2 diabetes means your body doesn’t use insulin properly.

Under normal circumstances, the pancreas produces insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels. In most people with diabetes, the body’s cells fail to respond properly to insulin — this is known as insulin resistance. As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin to compensate.

Without treatment, your pancreas may have trouble keeping up with the demand for insulin, causing your body to have too little insulin.

Managing Type 2 diabetes

As a diabetes specialist, internal medicine physician Dr. Samuel I. Fink possesses extensive experience diagnosing and treating all forms of diabetes. With his support, you may be able to manage Type 2 diabetes with dietary and lifestyle changes alone. 

When that’s not enough to bring your blood sugar levels within a target range, Dr. Fink may recommend medication that lowers how much glucose your liver produces and improves insulin sensitivity.

If your insulin levels are too low, he may recommend a class of medications that stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. In some cases, insulin therapy may be necessary. This involves injections or an insulin pump, which is a small device that delivers continuous doses of insulin under the skin.

Type 1 diabetes

Of the 34 million Americans with diabetes, roughly 1.6 million have Type 1 diabetes. In people with Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little to no insulin. This means insulin therapy is a crucial part of managing your condition.

Different factors contribute to the development of Type 1 diabetes. An abnormal immune reaction that causes your immune system to attack the cells of the pancreas is thought to contribute to most cases of Type 1 diabetes. Genetic and environmental factors may also play a role.

Managing Type 1 diabetes

Insulin therapy is designed to keep your blood glucose within a target range. Dr. Fink can help determine which form of insulin therapy is right for you. Insulin injected under the skin is the most common form of insulin therapy.

This involves giving yourself two to four insulin injections each day to maintain target blood sugar control. An insulin pump is also an option, eliminating the need to give yourself injections.

Gestational diabetes

Sometimes, diabetes develops during pregnancy. When this happens, it’s called gestational diabetes. Nearly 10% of US pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes, and it’s not yet known what causes it. Hormones related to pregnancy may block the action of insulin, resulting in insulin resistance. 

Fortunately, gestational diabetes often goes away on its own after giving birth. Because high blood sugar can cause serious health problems for you and your baby, we take special care to manage your condition so you have as healthy a pregnancy and delivery as possible.

Managing gestational diabetes

Treatment depends on your blood glucose levels. In some cases, you may need to take oral medication or injectable insulin to lower your blood sugar. It’s also important to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet. Once diagnosed, we work with you to plan your meals and manage your carbohydrate intake to keep you and your growing baby healthy.

With the guidance of a health care professional, you can feel good and live well with diabetes.  

To get started, contact our Tarzana, California, office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fink, or request one online.

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