Diabetes is a widespread, chronic illness that impacts thirty-four million Americans.
The result of diabetes is too much glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream.
It may sound trivial, but too much sugar in the body can do a lot of harm.
Here at Capitol Physical Therapy, we offer physical therapy support for diabetes and can assist you through education, prescribed movement, and hands on care.
Our movement experts will teach you how to manage the symptoms of your diabetes so you can get back to the activities you enjoy.
There are a ton of misconceptions about the causes of diabetes and the age groups that are commonly affected.
Understanding the different types, symptoms, and who’s at risk can help you spot the early signs of diabetes and seek medical treatment.
Today we’ll examine type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
While they share similar symptoms, there are crucial differences between them.
Let’s take a look.
What Is Diabetes?
Glucose is critical to the body for energy, and your pancreas produces insulin to break down the glucose, allowing it to enter your body’s cells.
But when too much glucose builds up in your blood, it causes blood sugar levels to spike.
This is called hyperglycemia and is often a precursor to diabetes.
Diabetes occurs when your pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells in your body don’t properly respond to the insulin.
What sets type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes apart?
Let’s take a closer look.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, differs in the way your body becomes insulin deficient.
It’s an autoimmune disorder – this means your immune system attacks your body’s own tissue.
With type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks the specialized cells in your pancreas that make and distribute insulin, causing your pancreas to stop making insulin altogether.
It most often appears in children and young adults, with only roughly 5% of people in the U.S. affected.
If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s important to test your blood frequently and use daily insulin injections to regulate your blood sugar.
The causes of type 1 diabetes are still unknown, but experts believe genes and environmental factors (such as viruses) may play a role.
The most significant difference to note is that juvenile diabetes cannot be prevented.
Type 2 Diabetes
The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes, sometimes referred to as adult onset diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age but is most often diagnosed after the age of forty five.
With type 2 diabetes, your body’s cells develop a resistance to insulin and your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to override it.
Aside from insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes can be caused by a person’s genetic makeup, diet and lifestyle, and underlying health problems.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
Like the other forms, gestational diabetes affects how your body uses glucose, and causes your blood sugar levels to spike.
Certain hormones formed in the placenta that help with your baby’s development can block the insulin generated by your body.
Excess blood glucose is then given your the baby, spiking their blood sugar.
This can be dangerous for both you and your baby.
Maintaining a healthy weight with adequate exercise can help prevent gestational diabetes.
Most cases will return to normal health once your baby is born.
Symptoms Of Diabetes
Common symptoms of type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes include:
- Increase thirst
- Fatigue and weakness
- Urinating frequently
- Blurred vision
- Unintended weight loss
- Sores that are slow to heal
- High blood pressure
- Frequent infections in the gums, skin, vagina, or bladder
- Constant or extreme hunger
- Excessive sweating
- Pain in joints or muscles
- Cramping or pain in the legs, or limping while walking
- Tingling, burning, or numbness in the feet and hands
- Chronic pain
Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing some of these symptoms.
You may be at risk for pre diabetes, a condition where blood glucose levels are rising.
With weight loss, lifestyle changes, and medicine, you can control your blood glucose levels and prevent a type 2 diagnosis.
Complications From Diabetes
Getting your diabetes under control is essential to enjoying a long, healthy life.
While diabetes is quite manageable, it’s important to adjust your eating habits and physical activity to keep your blood sugars at a healthy level and avoid complications.
Possible complications from diabetes include:
- High blood pressure
- Reduced muscle strength and physical function
- Skin problems, including sores, ulcers, and infections
- Necrosis (cell death), most often in toes and feet
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Stroke, and needing stroke recovery physical therapy
- Retinopathy (eye disease)
- Kidney disease
- Neuropathy (nervous system disease)
- Peripheral vascular disease (a blood circulation disorder)
- Amputations, and needing gait training physical therapy
- Premature death
While these complications are severe, in many cases they are also preventable.
Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help prevent or delay difficulties induced by diabetes.
While a person cannot avoid some risk factors, such as age, they can take steps to reduce the damage of things like high blood pressure, excess body weight, and poor diet.
Physical Therapist Treatment For Diabetes
Extreme blood sugar highs and lows can put extra stress on the body.
Physical therapy can help you relieve pain in the body and take control of your blood sugar levels.
We are here to share our knowledge and support you on your journey to wellness.
Your physical therapist can help you improve your ability to move, perform daily activities, and reduce pain.
Physical therapy treatments can also help heal diabetes related skin problems faster than without treatment.
At your first appointment you can expect your physical therapist to complete a detailed assessment of your current condition and medical history.
They will use the results to design a personalized treatment plan to help you get back on track.
Your treatment program can help improve your movement, strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination.
After a short time on your program, you should notice improvements in your walking ability, pain levels, blood glucose levels, healing of sores, and ability to perform daily tasks at work and home.
Physical therapy treatment is a safe way to treat any chronic pain.
Your physical therapist will prescribe the most effective and safe exercises for you to reduce your pain and protect painful areas to make them less sensitive.
Since it’s a good idea to maintain an active lifestyle if you’re diabetic, you may end up needing sports and running injuries physical therapy – we can help you there as well.
And of course, because type 2 diabetes in particular is more common in people age forty five and older, diabetes physical therapy treatment is often related to seniors health physical therapy.
With the right exercises, you’ll steadily and safely restore your strength, energy levels, and endurance.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Are you noticing a cramping, burning, tingling, or numbing pain in your muscles, joints, legs, feet, or hands?
Are you insatiably hungry or thirsty?
Are you experiencing vision problems, skin irritations, or sores that won’t heal?
If you think you or someone close to you may have symptoms of diabetes, talk to your doctor right away.
When it comes to our health, it’s better to have an early intervention than to deal with bigger complications later.
If you’re sick of struggling with the highs and lows of your diabetes and want to improve your quality of life, book an appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.
Don’t wait until the discomfort becomes unbearable.
Book a physical therapy consultation with us today so you can get back on the path to wellness.
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC