Commonwealth Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine & Primary Care Practice located in Fredericksburg, VA

Diabetes is a leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, but if you get an early diagnosis, in some cases, you can reverse or even eliminate this potentially life-threatening condition. The dedicated team of medical professionals at Commonwealth Internal Medicine in Fredericksburg, Virginia, can screen for diabetes with a simple blood test, and help you combat the condition long before you start experiencing symptoms. Call the office today to schedule a consultation.

Diabetes Q & A

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease caused by a problem with the insulin levels in your blood. Insulin is a hormone that’s made by your pancreas. Having insufficient insulin in your blood can cause your blood sugar levels to become imbalanced, leading to serious health problems.

Some people develop the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes. That means their body mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, and as a result, they lose the ability to produce insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is an incurable condition; however, with regular monitoring and use of insulin injections, people who have type 1 diabetes can lead long, healthy lives. In contrast, type 2 diabetes is almost always due to preventable lifestyle issues.

If you have type 2 diabetes, it means that either your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or your body isn’t using it effectively. This is usually due to being overweight and leading an unhealthy lifestyle.

Could I get type 2 diabetes?

If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is making insulin, but either it’s not enough, or your body stops being able to make use of what it’s producing. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 is preventable, typically brought on by a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. 

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, but some people are more at risk. If you have a family history of diabetes, or if you had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, these are factors that can increase your risk.

However, getting type 2 diabetes is avoidable even if you are at higher risk. Making changes to your lifestyle and maintaining a healthy diet are key to preventing diabetes. Changes you should make include:

  • Losing weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Getting more exercise
  • Reducing fat and sugar
  • Reducing alcohol intake

Screening for diabetes is also essential, so your provider at Commonwealth Internal Medicine can pick up on any early warning signs. Before diabetes develops fully, you enter a phase called prediabetes, which is reversible. A simple blood test can measure your blood glucose to show whether you have too high a level, enabling you to treat the condition before it causes any serious problems.

How is type 2 diabetes treated?

Making lifestyle changes is the primary treatment method for type 2 diabetes. The team at Commonwealth Internal Medicine can support you with these changes, providing advice and information to help you succeed. They also monitor your progress and make sure you stay healthy.

You might need additional treatments for your diabetes if diet and lifestyle changes aren’t enough on their own. This could include medications like metformin that slow down glucose production, or supplementary insulin to keep your blood glucose levels under control.

You might also need treatment for the complications diabetes can cause if it becomes severe. For example, checking foot health is a vital part of managing diabetes because of the risk of developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy and ulcers.

Call Commonwealth Internal Medicine today to arrange a diabetes screening test.