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Understanding Diabetes: The Basics

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

As the vibrant leaves of autumn blanket the St. Croix Valley, we at Osceola Medical Center (OMC) join hands with our community to mark Diabetes Awareness Month. It's a time to shine a light on a condition that touches many lives in our community.

Understanding diabetes is not just about recognizing its symptoms; it's about grasping its impact, knowing how to manage it, and learning how to prevent it. At OMC, we're dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and care you need to navigate this condition.

The Essence of Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood. It comes in several forms, but the most common are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks insulin-producing cells. Type 2, which is more common, arises when the body doesn't use insulin properly. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually resolves after birth, but it does increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Spotting the Signs: Recognizing Diabetes Early The signs of diabetes can often be as subtle as a whispering breeze, but catching them early can make a world of difference. At Osceola Medical Center, we encourage our community to be vigilant and proactive. Here are the key symptoms to watch out for, presented in an easy-to-read format:

  • Frequent Urination: If you find yourself visiting the restroom more often than usual, especially at night, it could be a sign that your kidneys are working overtime to flush out excess sugar from your blood.

  • Unquenchable Thirst: An unusually dry mouth and an insatiable thirst are signals that your body is trying to replenish fluids lost to frequent urination.

  • Unexplained Weight Loss: Losing weight without trying might seem like a welcome surprise, but it can be concerning when it's a result of diabetes.

  • Fatigue: Feeling tired is common enough, but when it's combined with other symptoms here, it might be due to diabetes affecting your body's ability to use sugar for energy.

  • Blurred Vision: High blood sugar levels can lead to the swelling of the lenses in your eyes, changing your ability to see clearly.

  • Slow-Healing Sores or Frequent Infections: Diabetes can impair your body's ability to heal and resist infections, especially on the skin.

  • Tingling or Numbness in Your Hands or Feet: Known as neuropathy, this symptom can be a sign of nerve damage caused by prolonged high blood sugar levels.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, it's essential to book an appointment with your healthcare provider. Early detection is key to managing diabetes effectively, and our team at OMC's Diabetes Care department is here to support you every step of the way.

The Role of Primary Care: Your primary care provider is your partner in health, especially when it comes to managing diabetes. They're the ones who can help you understand your condition, manage your symptoms, and keep an eye on your overall health. OMC's Family Practice Clinic is equipped with the latest in diabetes care, and our team is trained to provide personalized attention.

Managing Diabetes with OMC: At OMC, managing diabetes goes beyond medical treatment. It's about education, support, and community. Our DiabetesCare department consists of team members from a variety of disciplines, including dietitians, registered nurses and pharmicists. We have team members who specialize in providing diabetes education called Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES). The team offers comprehensive services, from dietary advice to medication management and everything in between. We believe in empowering you with the skills to manage your diabetes effectively.

Lifestyle Changes for Prevention and Management: Preventing and managing diabetes often requires lifestyle changes. This might mean more physical activity, a balanced diet, or both. Our team at Wild River Fitness can help you find activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle, making it easier to stay active and healthy.

The Power of Education: Knowledge is power, and at OMC, we're committed to providing you with all the information you need. Our team will meet YOU where you’re at and help you achieve your goals.

Conclusion: As we observe Diabetes Awareness Month, let's remember that while diabetes is a part of our community, it doesn't define us. With the right knowledge and resources, it can be managed. We invite you to reach out to Osceola Medical Center, where you're not just a patient; you're family. Together, we can face diabetes with strength and confidence.

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