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Dr. Anna Chacon, MDOnline diabetes consult
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Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes, is a metabolic disease that impacts your body's ability to utilize blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is a key energy source for the brain, as well as the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. The underlying cause of diabetes differs depending on the type. Regardless of the type of diabetes you have, the disease may cause an excess of sugar in your blood. Blood sugar levels that are too high can cause significant health issues, such as damage to your nerves and organs.
Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are both chronic diabetic conditions. Prediabetes and gestational diabetes are two diabetes disorders that may be reversible. Prediabetes is characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels (without being high enough to be categorized as diabetes). Unless proper steps are taken to prevent development, prediabetes is frequently the prelude to diabetes. Gestational diabetes develops throughout pregnancy, although it may go away once the baby is born.
Below is a list of common medications used to manage diabetes, which a doctor or provider can prescribe to you.
Note that all prescriptions are at your provider's discretion.
Blood sugar monitoring, insulin therapy, and oral medicines may all play a part in managing diabetes. Specific treatment options can vary depending on the type of diabetes you have. In addition to these therapies, certain lifestyle changes can help prevent and regulate diabetes.
Below are common treatment options for diabetes. During your appointment, talk to your doctor about what treatment plan is right for you.
How do you treat diabetes?
If you have diabetes, your doctor may recommend a number of at-home remedies to help you manage your symptoms and keep the condition's progression at bay. These include:
Eating healthy foods: This means staying away from salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Aim to have a large portion of your food intake come from veggies (especially leafy green ones), fruits, and other natural sources. This will help you reach and stay at a healthy weight, keep your blood sugar in a good range, and help to prevent cardiovascular problems, such as blood vessels and heart disease.
Get plenty of physical activity: Exercising, like proper nutrition, is good advice for everyone. If you're a diabetic, it can help keep you at a healthy weight, keep your heart and lungs healthy, and may even help your body regulate blood sugar.
Be consistent with your medicine: Follow all instructions given by your health care provider.
Test your blood sugar consistently: Glucose monitoring will not only help you keep track of how well the above steps are working, but it can also help you catch any complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be deadly if not treated.
What is the best treatment for diabetes?
Treatment for diabetes involves keeping a close eye on your blood sugar levels and keeping them in the target range set by your doctor through a combination of diet, exercise, and medication.
Your doctor may recommend you check your blood glucose levels daily. An instrument called a glucometer is used to check the blood sugar by dabbing a sample of your blood on a strip of paper. A newer device, known as a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), can be attached to your body and can measure your blood sugar every few minutes for up to a week at a time.
Monitoring your glucose gives you and your doctor a better idea of your body's changing need for insulin. For some people with type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise may be enough to control your diabetes. Others will need medication, which may be either an oral drug or insulin. There are a variety of oral drugs that a doctor may choose to prescribe, that each works in different ways. Insulin may be administered either as a shot, an insulin pen, or have an insulin pump.
How can I reverse diabetes naturally?
Diabetes is a serious illness that you cannot treat on your own. You will want to see a doctor, and possibly build a team of health professionals, to help with your diabetes management. While there is no cure for diabetes, in some cases type 2 diabetes can be reversed. This means that the disease is in remission and your blood sugar levels can stay in a healthy range without needing medication. The key to this is often weight loss. Consult your health care team to figure out what method is best for you.
What are the risk factors for diabetes?
The exact cause of type 1 is unknown, though risk factors may include: family history, environment, presence of autoantibodies, and geography. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes may include:
- Being overweight
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL ("good cholesterol") or high triglyceride levels
What is a diabetes care plan?
A diabetes care plan is a written document detailing the specific needs of diabetic students for the faculty and staff. It includes information such as what foods and medicines they take, when to take them, how much, and how the medicine is administered. Children and students with diabetes should have a care plan on file at their schools.
What are the possible complications of diabetes?
Possible complications from diabetes include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye damage
- Nerve damage
- Foot problems
- Skin conditions
What are the four types of diabetes?
There are four main kinds of diabetes. They are:
Prediabetes: This is when your blood sugar is too high, but not high enough for your doctor to diagnose it as diabetes. It can, however, make you more likely to get type 2 diabetes and heart disease. More than a third of all people in the United States have prediabetes, though most are unaware of it. Exercising more and losing weight can lower the risk of it progressing.
Type 1 diabetes: Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. It occurs when your body attacks your pancreas with antibodies causing the organ to stop producing insulin.
Type 2 diabetes: With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas usually produces some insulin, but it either doesn't produce enough, or the body doesn't use it correctly. About 90% of people who have diabetes have type 2. People who are obese (more than 20% over their target body weight) are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes: Pregnancy often causes some amount of insulin resistance. When it gets bad enough to become diabetes it is known as gestational. Gestational diabetes occurs in about 2%-10% of pregnancies and it usually goes away after birth. However, about 10% of women who have gestational diabetes get type 2 later on.
How can a podiatrist help with diabetes?
Diabetes can cause complications that affect foot health. Some of these complications are:
Untreated diabetes can damage nerves in the legs and feet. When nerves in those parts of the body are damaged, they may be unable to feel heat, cold, or trauma. This leads to infections, muscle weakening, and diabetic ulcers. If left untreated, these foot problems can be severe and threaten the safety of the limb. Podiatrists can help with wound care and preventative medicine to maintain foot health. This may save the foot from amputation.
Diabetes can reduce blood flow to your feet, which makes it more difficult for infections and cuts to heal and increases the risk of developing gangrene or ulcers. Gangrene is a type of tissue death caused by a lack of circulation. Podiatrists can prescribe antibiotic medication to help the infection, but if left untreated, gangrene can lead to amputation.
Podiatrists can help create a foot care plan that keeps your feet healthy and free from infection. If you have a cut or blister that isn’t healing, or if you have chronic foot pain, talk to a doctor right away.
Podiatrists on Sesame offer affordable new patient consultations to talk you through your foot health and treatment plans that might be right for you. Sesame uses a direct-to-patient model, which means you book directly with the doctor you want to see and pay an upfront price with no insurance needed. Foot care can help prevent serious infection or disease. Talk to a doctor today to get the care you need.
What is a hemoglobin A1c lab test?
Hemoglobin A1c Lab Tests, also called A1c, HbA1c, or glycated hemoglobin is a test that measures the average amount of blood sugar (also called glucose) attached to your hemoglobin over the past three months. Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Doctors generally recommend getting an HbA1c every three months if you are managing a chronic condition like diabetes. That's because three months is the average lifespan of a red blood cell.
An HbA1c test is generally used by doctors to check for diabetes or prediabetes in adults. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, an HbA1c can help you and your doctor evaluate and manage your condition.
What does an HbA1c test screen for?
Diagnostic HbA1c tests are used to determine blood sugar levels - the critical factor in diabetes diagnosis. The results of an A1c test are given as percentages. These correspond to your blood sugar levels.
- Below 5.7%: A1c levels that are below 5.7% indicate healthy blood sugar levels. This means you are not currently at risk of developing diabetes.
- Between 5.7-6.4%: This range indicates prediabetes, a serious health condition. Prediabetes requires immediate treatment to manage blood sugar levels and prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes.
- 6.5% or higher (after 2 separate tests): Blood sugar levels higher than 6.5% indicate that you have developed diabetes. Doctors will order two separate A1c tests to conclusively test dangerous blood sugar levels. If both tests come back with blood sugar levels at over 6.5%, they will begin treating you for diabetes.
For individuals already managing diabetes, doctors will aim to keep blood sugar levels under 7%. Blood sugar levels over 7% may require an adjustment in your treatment plan.
Where do I go to get an HbA1c test?
A1c tests are usually performed by your primary care provider. To diagnose prediabetes or diabetes, the test is performed by taking a sample of blood via a needle inserted in the arm. If your doctor suspects that you may be at risk for diabetes, they will usually order two separate A1c tests to be performed on different days. Once the blood has been drawn, it will be sent to a lab for analysis. It may take a day or two before you get your results back.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are undergoing an A1c test to manage your condition, your provider can draw blood via a prick of the finger. This drawn blood will be put in a vial and tested in the office that day. This means you will usually get your results on the same day as your appointment.
What kind of medications can I get prescribed online?
Sesame is able to prescribe a wide range of common medications for conditions like infections, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, high cholesterol, and more. However, we are unable to prescribe controlled substances and medications that are at risk for abuse.
If you are looking for medication for a mental health condition, are in stable condition, and do not need psychiatric care, book an online mental health medication visit on Sesame to discuss treatment options with a licensed health care provider.
If you have been referred to a psychiatrist or are in need of psychiatric care, book an online psychiatrist appointment to talk about your concerns and the best treatment plan for you.
Please note that prescriptions are always at the discretion of your provider. Provider appointments are designed to evaluate your condition and craft a treatment plan that works for you. If your appointment does not result in a prescription, your appointment is non-refundable.
Can I use my health insurance on Sesame?
Sesame does not accept insurance for provider appointments - however, you can pay with cash, credit, debit, or even your FSA or HSA card since visits and prescriptions on Sesame are considered health expenses.
However, Sesame clinicians can assist with insurance prior authorization specifically for patients who book a weight management service through Sesame’s online weight loss management program.