Diabetes Specialist

Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan -  - Board Certified Internal Medicine Physician

Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan

Board Certified Internal Medicine Physicians & Board Certified Pediatricians located in Grand Rapids, MI

Diabetes is a lifelong disease that requires daily management to be sure your blood sugar stays under control. Getting expert help with diabetes is important because high levels of blood sugar lead to serious complications, making diabetes the top cause of kidney failure and adult-onset blindness. The physicians at Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan have extensive experience helping patients manage diabetes with lifestyle changes and medication when needed. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking tool or call the office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, today.

Diabetes Q&A

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

Both types of diabetes affect your ability to metabolize carbohydrates, but they develop from different causes.

Type 1 diabetes typically occurs before the age of 14, but it can develop at any age. In this type of diabetes, your pancreas can’t produce insulin. Since insulin is responsible for clearing excess glucose out of your bloodstream, a lack of insulin causes high blood sugar. Experts think that Type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and environmental factors, such as viruses, that might trigger the disease.

Type 2 diabetes represents 90-95% of all cases of diabetes. It commonly occurs in adults over the age of 45, but it may appear at an earlier age. In Type 2 diabetes, your pancreas produces insulin, but not enough to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Patients with Type 2 diabetes also develop insulin resistance. As a result, their body can’t use all the available insulin.

You can’t lower your risk for Type 1 diabetes, but it’s estimated that 90% of all cases of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented if patients took steps to reduce the top risk factors: overweight, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms often appear suddenly in Type 1 diabetes, while they can take years to develop in Type 2 diabetes. Both types share the same symptoms:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you're experiencing symptoms of diabetes, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. 

What health complications develop when diabetes isn’t managed?

It’s vital to keep your blood sugar in a normal range because high blood sugar damages nerves and blood vessels. As the damage worsens over time, you can develop complications such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Eye disease (diabetic retinopathy)
  • Tingling, numbness, and pain in your feet

Managing your blood sugar effectively and making dietary and lifestyle changes can help you avoid complications related to diabetes. 

How is diabetes managed?

The team at Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan works with you to develop a customized management plan, which includes the steps you need to take to keep your blood sugar within normal limits.

Following a diet that limits carbohydrate consumption is one of the most important ways to control blood sugar. Losing weight and getting more exercise also helps lower blood sugar.

A variety of medications are available can lower your blood sugar using different mechanisms. Your provider prescribes the one that’s best for your health needs. Patients with Type 1 diabetes, and some with Type 2 diabetes, need to take insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Whether you need help with ongoing diabetes management, or you just noticed symptoms and need a diagnosis, call Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of West Michigan or book an appointment online.