Diabetes care in Portsmouth
If you've been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, the skilled and caring experts at Portsmouth Regional Hospital will work with you and your doctor to help maintain your health and achieve the best possible outcomes. Managing your diabetes now can mean a healthier life later.
Our team also has a diabetes nurse educator. You will need a physician's referral to set up this appointment. Once you have a referral, call (603) 334-2006 to schedule your appointment.
Our highly skilled clinicians work together to provide patients with individualized and effective treatment plans. Our nurse practitioner manages medication in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Our team of experts will help you develop a plan to control your glucose levels and lose or maintain your weight.
You'll also want to take advantage of services that assist you with learning more about diabetes, preparing nutritious meals and snacks, exploring surgical options for weight loss, increasing your physical fitness and improving your overall health.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that leaves the body with a shortage of insulin or a decreased ability to use insulin, a hormone that allows sugar (glucose) to be converted to energy. When the body can't produce enough insulin or the cells don't use it effectively, glucose remains in the blood and can cause damage to vital organs.
If left untreated, diabetes can lead to conditions ranging from dizziness to more serious health concerns, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, circulatory problems, pregnancy complications and more.
Types of diabetes
The most common forms of diabetes are:
- Type 1 diabetes—This type of diabetes, accounting for five to 10 percent of all cases, is an autoimmune disease in which the body fails to produce insulin. It generally appears in childhood or early adulthood. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections to regulate glucose levels.
- Type 2 diabetes—Accounting for 90 to 95 percent of the diabetic population, Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body can't produce enough or properly use insulin. Type 2 diabetes cases in the U.S. are growing at an epidemic rate due to increased obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
- Gestational diabetes—This condition occurs in a small percentage of women during pregnancy, raising glucose levels and creating other diabetic symptoms. It's caused by the blocking effects that hormones have on insulin.
- Prediabetes—This type of diabetes means that you have elevated blood sugar, but it's not high enough to qualify for a diabetes diagnosis.
In most cases, diabetes shows no symptoms. However, when symptoms do appear, they usually consist of the following:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive thirst or hunger
- Frequent urination
- Non-healing wounds
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Dark skin patches
Random blood sugar, fasting blood sugar and oral glucose tolerance are tests used to determine an individual's blood glucose level, assisting in the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. Individuals who are 45 years old or older and overweight are recommended for screening, per the American Diabetes Association. This is especially encouraged if there is a family history of Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.
Although Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, there are ways to keep your blood sugar levels normal, which can prevent or delay possible complications.
Healthy eating, weight loss, diabetes medications and insulin therapy are all options to help you manage your symptoms. Work with your diabetes care team to determine which course of action is best for you.
Diabetes risk factors
Although the cause for diabetes remains uncertain, there are several known risk factors. People at risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by making lifestyle changes to modify or eliminate risk factors.
Risk factors for diabetes include:
- High blood pressure (140/90 or higher)
- High cholesterol
- Ethnic background (African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Asians experience higher rates of diabetes.)
- History of babies weighing more than nine pounds at birth
- Previous gestational diabetes
Turn prediabetes into no diabetes
Prediabetes is a warning. While it means you are susceptible to developing diabetes, you are still in a position to make a change. Steps anyone with prediabetes should take include:
- Exercise. Become a more active person. Walk the dog twice a day, walk with friends or take a yoga class. Physical activity lowers blood glucose levels and reduces body fat.
- Lose a few pounds. Losing just a small amount of weight can make a huge difference. The Diabetes Prevention Trial found people who had prediabetes and lost five to seven percent of their body weight would lower their odds for a diabetes diagnosis by 58 percent.
- Visit your doctor regularly. Regular check-ups will help you stay focused on the goal of lowering your diabetes risk.
- Eat healthy. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, ditch the junk food, raise your fiber intake and choose whole grains over processed grains. Don't forget to cut the high-calorie sugary drinks as well.
- Have a support system. It is helpful to have a friend or family member who is committed to exercising with you. You can also join groups in your community that have the same goal of achieving a healthier way of life.
- Get some sleep. Not getting enough sleep will make losing weight difficult because it increases the stress hormones in your body, causing your body to store fat.
Make sure you speak with your doctor about the steps you are going to take to prevent diabetes. It is helpful to have your doctor on board with your new lifestyle, as he or she can provide support and guidance.
Endocrinology services in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
The endocrine system is a group of glands that produces hormones to regulate many activities within the body, including metabolism, reproduction and fertility, sleep, mood and growth and development. At Portsmouth Regional Hospital, our nurse practitioner is also specially trained to treat patients with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
For more information about our endocrinology services, please call (603) 334-2006