Millions of Americans live with diabetes. MainStreet Family Care has all the details on diabetes symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. 

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus affects how the body handles blood sugar (glucose) and insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. There are several types including chronic conditions like type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as potentially reversible conditions like pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes. 

Type 1 Diabetes 

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the immune system attacking the pancreas, thus severely limiting insulin production. Most people with type 1 receive their diagnosis in childhood, and symptoms typically appear suddenly. People with type one diabetes must take insulin each day to adjust for the dysfunction of their pancreas. 

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops over time and isn’t an autoimmune disorder like type 1. When a person has type 2, their pancreas is unable to control blood sugar levels with insulin. It takes a long period of time to develop type 2 diabetes, and the symptoms may be harder to recognize.  

Risk factors associated with type two diabetes include being overweight or obese, having limited physical activity, and eating an unhealthy diet. Those who have family members with diabetes are also at an increased risk of developing this condition.


Pre-diabetes is the warning sign that your blood sugar levels are elevated more than normal, but not enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, you should be routinely monitoring your blood sugar and trying to reduce your blood sugar levels. 

Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women may experience gestational diabetes, and this condition will usually go away as soon as they are no longer pregnant. However, it is important to note that women who experience gestational diabetes are at a higher risk to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. 

Symptoms of Diabetes

As previously mentioned, type one diabetes will have a sudden onset of symptoms, while type two diabetes can go unrecognized. Although there are key differences in the conditions, their symptoms are similar. Symptoms of diabetes include: 

  • Extreme thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Slowly healing wounds
  • Dry skin
  • Increased hunger
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms, legs or fingers
  • Increased number of infections

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? MainStreet can help get you answers. We offer blood sugar testing in our primary care services

How is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Diabetes can be diagnosed by checking your blood sugar with an A1C test. This is a simple blood test that measures your sugar levels. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, normal A1C levels are those that are less than 5.7%, pre-diabetes levels are those that are between 5.7% and 6.4%, and levels of 6.5% or higher are indicators of diabetes. 

If your provider is not sure that you have diabetes by simply checking your A1C levels, they may administer other tests or refer you to a specialist for further diagnostics.

What are the Treatment Options?

Type 1 diabetics require insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump to manage their diabetes. MainStreet is unable to prescribe insulin, but we are happy to help treat type 1 diabetics for other related side effects like hypertension and neuropathy. 

Type 2 diabetes can be treated with a variety of insulin alternatives like:

  • Metformin
  • Sulfonylureas
  • Sodium-glucose co-transporters type 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors

These medications help manage blood sugar levels. 

Additionally, lifestyle changes are strongly recommended for anyone with a diabetes diagnosis. Changing your lifestyle can not only reduce the symptoms and severity of diabetes, but also help you live an overall healthier and happier life. 

Some encouraged lifestyle changes are: 

  • Weight loss for those who are overweight
  • Eat more whole foods such as fruits and vegetables 
  • Begin an exercise regimen
  • Manage your stress
  • Limit alcohol consumption 
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco products
  • Get routine check-ups

Preventing and Reducing Your Risk for Diabetes 

The best way to prevent and reduce your risk of developing pre-diabetes and type two diabetes is to have a well-rounded lifestyle. This includes things like eating a well-balanced diet, exercising 3-5 times a week, and managing overall stress.

Turn To MainStreet Family Care

Looking to take charge of your health? MainStreet has you covered! Our primary care services are inclusive to all sorts of conditions. Even better, we offer next-day and same-day appointments so you don’t have to wait days or weeks to see your provider. Register for a patient portal account below and schedule your first appointment!

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