Care for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Care

Diabetes is an all-too-common condition that can negatively affect your overall health in many ways—especially if left undiagnosed and untreated. More than 10 percent of people in north central Pennsylvania are affected by type 2 diabetes, a form of the disease that is often lifestyle related. People with type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which the body uses to metabolize glucose (sugar). When diabetes is not well managed, blood sugar levels get high and that can lead to a variety of complications including nerve damage (neuropathy), heart and blood vessel diseases, damage to the kidneys and eyes, and problems with wound healing.

Diabetes and Nutrition Wellness

If you have type 2 diabetes or you are at risk of developing it, understanding and managing your diet is essential. The specialists at the Penn Highlands DuBois Diabetes & Nutrition Wellness Center can help. Our trained dietitians help patients manage diabetes and provide nutrition therapy to patients with other conditions as well. For more information, be sure to visit our Diabetes and Nutrition Wellness page. If you have questions or concerns about any of your nutritional or diabetes needs, Penn Highlands Healthcare can help.

Are you at risk?

Your risk of type 2 diabetes is increased if you have a family history of the disease. Type 2 diabetes risk also increases with age. Common risk factors related to type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, carrying fat around your abdomen, and for women, having polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Jefferson and Clearfield counties’ rate of type 2 diabetes is higher than the national average—and many people are living undiagnosed. That’s why it’s important to have your primary care physician assess your risk of type 2 diabetes, especially if you have risk factors or if you’re experiencing symptoms. If you haven’t recently had your blood sugar or hemoglobin A1C tested, download and print the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you’re at risk. At your next primary care visit, discuss your results with your primary care physician to see if there are preventive steps you should be taking to lower your risk.

Type 2 diabetes is officially diagnosed with an A1C test, which measures the average blood sugar level over the past two to three months or with a fasting blood sugar test. If your A1C is over 6.5 or your fasting blood sugar test is 126 mg/dL on two separate tests, it indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 or a fasting blood sugar reading between 100 and 125, is considered prediabetes. That’s the time to make important lifestyle changes to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

What are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can come on slowly as glucose builds up in your blood. Signs to watch for include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Increased hunger
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections

What is the Best Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes?

Often people can manage type 2 diabetes by making healthy lifestyle choices. These same simple changes also can help prevent diabetes if you are at high risk or have prediabetes, which is when your blood sugar is high, but not quite high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Important changes to make if you have type 2 diabetes or you are at risk of develop type 2 diabetes include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Talk with your primary care physician about a healthy weight range for you. In addition to a healthy BMI (body mass index), focus on your waist size since abdominal fat is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Men should aim for a waist circumference of 40 inches or less; women for 35 inches or less.
  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in fat and high in fiber. Choose plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Incorporate 30 to 60 minutes of moderate daily activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, or biking. If you have a desk job, aim to stand up and walk around every half hour.

For some people, medication is necessary to help manage symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Your physician may prescribe an oral medication such as Metformin.

If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, one of the most important things you can do is to carefully monitor your blood sugar and manage your risks.

How is Type 1 Diabetes different from Type 2 Diabetes?

In people with type 1 diabetes, the body stops making insulin altogether. The symptoms of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes are the same as for type 2. Although healthy lifestyle changes are essential to help people with type 1 diabetes manage the disease, they also will need to use insulin to control their blood sugar for the rest of their lives.

Support for People with Diabetes

Diabetes Support Group meetings are held monthly in the communities of DuBois and St. Marys. All are welcome, and there is no cost to attend.

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Conditions We Treat

Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - Pre-existing Diabetes

News at Care for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Hope 80/20: A Hospital’s Lifestyle Plan for Weight Loss and Diabetes Prevention

July 08, 2020

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Penn Highlands Elk to Offer Prediabetes Lifestyle Change Program

January 04, 2018

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