Diabetes

Diabetes Specialist
Approximately 29 million Americans live with diabetes, a chronic disease that causes blood sugar levels to rise above normal levels. At Morris Medical Center in Fort Myers, Florida, Dr. Dareld Morris and his team offer patients with diabetes the medical treatment and self-management skills they need to avoid complications and lead long, healthy lives.

Diabetes Q & A

What is diabetes?

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when your pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, and type 2 diabetes develops when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or your body becomes insulin resistant. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood, and people with a family history of the disease have a greater chance of developing it. Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by a combination of factors and is largely preventable, accounts for about 9 out of 10 cases of the disease.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

People don’t always experience symptoms when they’re pre-diabetic or insulin-resistant or even during the initial phase of the disease itself. When symptoms do emerge, they can vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased or extreme thirst or hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Tingling sensations or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Blurry vision
  • Vaginal yeast infections

Other symptoms include rapid breathing, unusually bad breath, high blood pressure, and darkening skin around your neck or in your armpits. If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see Dr. Morris.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Researchers don’t know exactly what makes some people more prone to type 2 diabetes, but there are several risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing the disease:

  • Weight: Being overweight or obese is the most significant risk factor
  • Inactivity: Lack of physical activity can substantially amplify your risk
  • Age: Risk increases as you get older, particularly after age 45
  • High blood pressure: Blood pressure higher than 140/90 boosts your risk
  • Abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels: Either high triglycerides or low HDL (good) cholesterol levels can put you at greater risk
  • Family history: If one of your parents or siblings has the disease, your risk increases
  • Ethnicity: Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

How can I live a healthy life with diabetes?

Eating right, getting regular exercise, and taking your diabetes medications exactly as prescribed are essential to maintaining optimal blood sugar levels and feeling good. If you’re overweight, shedding extra pounds can also go a long way in helping you control the condition. That’s because excess fat increases the degree to which your body is insulin resistant. Getting started on a medical weight loss plan as soon as possible is one of the best way to maintain control of your health and prevent the disease from progressing.

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