Types Of Diabetes
There are a few different types of diabetes, with each type featuring its own unique symptoms, causes, and treatments.
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks and destroys pancreatic cells that produce insulin. About 10% of people with diabetes have this type.
- Type 2 diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to the insulin hormone, and as a result causing elevated blood sugar levels.
- Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar (measured as A1c) is higher than normal, but not yet high enough for an official type-2 diabetes diagnosis.
- Finally, gestational diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar during pregnancy – a result of insulin-blocking hormones secreted by the placenta.
Overall, diabetes symptoms are triggered by rising blood sugar levels, and the general symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst
- Weight gain
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Sores that don’t heal
Beyond the general diabetes symptoms, men with diabetes may experience a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and oftentimes poor muscle strength.
For women with diabetes, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin are common symptoms.
Most women with gestational diabetes don’t show any symptoms. Oftentimes, the condition is detected during a routine blood sugar test performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of gestation. In some cases, a woman with gestational diabetes will experience increased thirst or urination.
Conventional Treatments for Diabetes
Each type of diabetes has its own root causes, but the conventional approach to treatment for all the types aims at modifying blood sugar levels with medications such as Metformin, Avandia, Actos, Januvia or Onglyza and exogenous insulin.
Yet there is little to no attention paid to the root causes leading to insulin imbalances in the first place – such as compromised gut health, unmanaged hormonal issues, being overweight or obese, or eating a diet rich in sugar and other inflammatory foods.
In the case of gestational diabetes, little is done to help expecting mothers learn how to balance their hormones correctly and the dietary information conventional dietitians give can actually escalate the weight gain during pregnancy by including foods high on the glycemic index.
With type 1 diabetes (which is an autoimmune condition), conventional practitioners mostly focus on insulin and adjunctive medications to deal with blood pressure and cholesterol – without exploring ways to address the underlying autoimmune disorder that destroys the pancreatic cells.
The Functional Medicine Approach To Diabetes
In Functional Medicine, our approach to diabetes (or any chronic illness for that matter), is to restore your body’s innate healing potential rather than merely managing symptoms with expensive prescription drugs.
We believe that the best way to address a lifestyle-induced disease is by making sensible lifestyle changes – and by providing ongoing coaching and support.
That’s why with diabetes, we have a unique “food protocol” to help you manage your blood sugar, your weight, decrease your general inflammation while avoiding foods that may cause an allergic reaction.
Apart from food, we also examine the interplay between different systems and organs in your body – like your gut, your endocrine system, and your brain. Because for true holistic health, we need to get all your systems to play together.
For example, if you are dealing with other hormone imbalances, this can have a huge impact on how well you can manage your diabetes.
That’s why Dr. Angela Carlson runs advanced lab testing beyond your standard blood tests so we can recommend a protocol that brings all your hormones back in balance – from insulin, to cortisol, thyroid and more.
If you suspect your symptoms might be related to diabetes, you should get a FPG and an A1C blood test through your primary care provider.
The fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test measures your blood sugar after you’ve fasted for 8 hours, while the A1C test provides a snapshot of your blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months.
We also recommend gut and hormonal testing to get the full picture of anything else that is impacting your insulin levels and causing symptoms.
The earlier you get diagnosed with diabetes, the sooner you can start addressing diabetes or if you are concerned about your risks feel free to schedule a complimentary phone consultation to see what the best next steps are for you.
If you already have diabetes and want improve how you manage it, or want to lower your risk for diabetes, schedule a complimentary phone consultation.