Our Diabetes Care
Our primary care physicians provide diabetes care in Los Angeles in the form of medication for management and proactive education for people living with diabetes across Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Play Vista, CA, and the surrounding areas. We help people of all ages in managing their lifestyle and wellness choices to control their diabetes and be healthy in all areas of their lives.
There are different types of diabetes, but they all involve problems with the pancreas and the hormone insulin and how the body metabolizes food. There isn’t a cure for diabetes; rather, people living with it need to manage their blood sugars and health habits to control it and stay healthy.
The American Diabetes Association recommends a diabetes care team that helps with a holistic approach to blood sugar and lifestyle management for people with all types of diabetes.
Diabetes affects the pancreas which is the organ that releases digestive hormones. Normally, when blood sugar levels get too high, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin. This is supposed to cause the body to use sugar as energy or to store it as fat for levels to go back down. For people with diabetes, this system doesn’t work as it should.
Type 1 diabetes is when the immune system mistakenly attacks the pancreas and no insulin, or not enough, is released. Without the insulin, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy or stored. This is the less common form of the disease. People with type 1 diabetes are usually diagnosed young or in their teens, but it can also show up in adulthood. This type is always treated with insulin and controlling diet to help keep blood sugar at the right levels.
Most common is type 2 diabetes which is when the body can’t properly accept and use the insulin that is released. So, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy or stored. This type is more often developed in adults, but it can affect children too. Depending on the case, it may be managed through physical activity and meal planning, but sometimes it can require medication and/or insulin too.
Why is Diabetes Care Important?
If blood sugar levels get out of control, this could lead quickly to sickness from problems like hypoglycemia (when blood sugar’s too low), hyperglycemia (when it’s too high) or diabetic ketoacidosis (other type of diabetic emergency). These things can get quite severe and be life-threating. Over time, not managing diabetes can also damage blood vessels that go the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. Because of this, heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems and nerve problems can happen to people with uncontrolled diabetes.
History of Diabetes Treatment
Before 1922 when pure insulin was discovered and first used, there was no treatment for people with diabetes. After that, insulin injection became the treatment for people with diabetes; even though when to inject it was largely a guessing game that was based on the imprecise measurement of urine samples. Beginning in the 1970s, blood glucose readers and strips measuring blood sugar levels were developed. This made knowing when to inject insulin easier and it reduced complications (blindness, gangrene, heart attack and stroke) that were still very common for diabetes patients before. Since then, blood sugar monitoring tools, medication and insulin delivery tools have significantly advanced for it to become much easier today for people to manage diabetes and avoid complications.
When to Get Diabetes Care
If a patient shows early symptoms of diabetes, they should seek medical care and testing from their primary care doctor (or from the hospital if symptoms are severe). Early recognition and diagnosis are important to avoid complications of diabetes. Symptoms can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Feeling sick, weak and very thirsty
- Frequent urination
- Stomach ache
- Breathing more deeply and faster than normal
- Having sweet-smelling breath
The most important times for a patient to actively visit the doctor for diabetes care are several times when they are first diagnosed, for assessments twice a year (at the least), if the patient experiences any changes in their health and when they are switching healthcare providers.
Questions to Ask About Diabetes Care
Diabetes is a relatively common disease, but the plan for managing it depends greatly on each patient. Every case is unique. Your doctor will explain the best treatment options for you and how to perform them. But, here are some examples of additional questions to ask to find out more about your specific case:
- What other medical problems am I at risk for?
- What other doctors should I start seeing? How often?
- Are there any new medications that I could try for diabetes control?
- Do I have to change what I eat?
- What kind of exercise do you recommend?
- If I need to lose weight, how many pounds?
- Will my children be at risk for diabetes?
How to Prepare for Diabetes Care
- When you make the appointment, ask if there’s anything in advance like fast or restrict your diet for testing.
- Write down any symptoms you have even if you think they are unrelated to diabetes.
- If you’re keeping track of your blood sugar measurements, bring the entire log into your appointment.
- Find out family medical history. Tell your doctor about any blood relatives who have had diabetes, heart attacks or strokes.
- Know if you are running out of your prescriptions so you can ask your doctor to refill them.
What to Expect from Diabetes Care
You can expect diabetes care and management to be something you will deal with for the rest of your life. So, finding the best healthcare providers and routines are important for before, during and after your diabetes care visits.
How Does Diabetes Care Work?
A patient’s diabetes care team will identify a target range for where blood pressure should be. They will prescribe treatments and routines that patients need to follow to keep their blood pressure within their target range.
The patient is the most important part of their diabetes care team. To give the best care, all of the doctors involved will rely heavily on the patient to communicate with them on how they feel. People with diabetes need to actively measure and manage their blood sugars. Knowing blood sugar patterns will help doctors know how well a current treatment is working.
A primary care doctor is your main source of care, so he or she will most likely be the primary person helping with diabetes management. They will prescribe and explain instructions for any medications. Primary care physicians can often provide good diabetes care, but there are times when they may recommend seeing a specialist.
An endocrinologist is a medical specialist trained to focus on treating people with diabetes. These doctors are also very important in diabetes care.
Those with diabetes may also seek the help of a dietician. A registered dietitian is trained in nutrition. What you eat and drink is a key part of diabetes treatment, so these professionals figure out food needs based on weight, lifestyle, medication, and other health goals.
Going to an optometrist or optometrist often is also important to managing and preventing complications. Diabetes can cause problems in the blood vessels in the eyes that can eventually lead to blindness if not treated properly.
Tools and Medications for Diabetes Care
For both types of diabetes, blood glucose meters or monitors are used. They are small, computerized devices that measure and display your blood sugar level using a small blood sample or implanted sensor. There are many different options of meters with varying features. It’s important to spend time exploring the different options to choose one that’s best for you. Have your doctor recommend the options for you.
There are also many medications available to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They each work in different ways but they will all help you control your blood sugar and make up for the issues your body has with insulin. For type 1 diabetes, insulin is always prescribed, but there are many different types of insulin that gets injected. Your doctor will find the right ones for you. Some people with type 2 diabetes will also take insulin or other injections, but most medications for this type can be taken in pill form. These medications help your body produce or receive insulin better in various ways. Your doctor will find the best medications for you.
People with both types of diabetes often need to take additional medications like aspirin and drugs for high cholesterol or blood pressure to treat conditions that are common with diabetes.
No matter your case, your doctor will recommend and prescribe the best treatment for you and your lifestyle. Your needs and choices for treatment may change throughout life as well. It is important to communicate with your doctor for the best method of diabetes control for you.
Potential Medication Interactions
In addition to insulin or pills, diabetes patients often have other conditions that they take medication for—pills for high cholesterol or high blood pressure, antidepressants, daily aspirin, etc. You may also be taking other medication for a condition unrelated to your diabetes. Sometimes patients can forget to inform their doctors or pharmacists of all the meds they are taking with their insulin or pills for diabetes. Here is a list of common drugs used to treat diabetes as well as other drugs commonly used by people with diabetes that could potentially cause interference, though it is not a complete list. It is important to tell medical professionals about all your medications as this is the best way to avoid bad drug interactions.
Potential Risks and Complications of Diabetes
People who have diabetes are at higher risk for other health complications. However, proper management of the disease and blood sugar levels can significantly reduce these risks. Here are the things that people with diabetes are commonly at risk for:
- Heart disease
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage
- Eye damage
- Foot damage
- Skin conditions
- Hearing impairment
Good diabetes care, blood sugar management and forming good health habits are very important to avoiding these complications.
Rewards of Diabetes Care
The rewards of proper lifestyle and diabetes management are endless. Your general quality of life will be improved with lifestyle management and treatment and it could help you avoid more serious health conditions in the future. Many people have diabetes and are able to lead healthy and happy lives while controlling their disease.
Related Treatments and Care
A diabetes care plan is aimed to help a patient manage their lifestyle with the ongoing concerns of the disease. It helps to treat current issues as well as test for risk-factors for prevention of any future complications. But, in addition to addressing medication and tools for blood sugar management, these other types of care are recommended for diabetes patients: nutrition therapy, weight management, physical activity, mental health care, and sleep quality monitoring as some examples.
Primary Care for Diabetes Management at PlatinumCare LA
We at PlatinumCare LA can help people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes with care and lifestyle management for those with the disease to live their best, healthiest life. We can provide you with all-encompassing care that includes the medication and doctor attention, but also the best resources and consideration for wellness in all areas of life. We will help you choose the best method to measure and monitor you blood sugar levels and prescribe you the best medication for your unique case. We are dedicated to education, prevention and quality treatment for our patients with diabetes.