Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that affects the pancreas. When someone has the condition, they are unable to create or properly use insulin to turn their sugar into energy, which can cause a variety of other health conditions and is not yet curable. 

The Three Types

There are three distinct types of the condition: type one, type two, and gestational. You can also be diagnosed with prediabetes. Each type is characterized by specific symptoms and treatment methods. 

Type 1 Diabetes 

Type 1 is the least common form of the condition and is characterized by the inability to create insulin due to the immune system attacking the pancreas. Most people with Type 1 will be diagnosed at an early age, and the symptoms of this type may come on suddenly. Those who suffer from this type must take insulin every day. 

Type 2 Diabetes

Most people with the condition will suffer from Type 2, as it is developed over long periods of time. This type is due to the pancreas being unable to maintain normal blood sugar levels with insulin. Unlike Type 1, symptoms of Type 2 may be harder to recognize. This is why it is important to routinely check your blood sugar to ensure you do not already have or are at risk for developing the condition. 

The following lifestyle factors can be risk factors for developing Type 2: 

  • Being overweight or obese 
  • You have limited physical activity
  • You eat an unhealthy diet 

Additionally, if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing the condition. 

Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women may suffer from gestational diabetes, and the condition typically goes away once they have given birth. However, those who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes will have a higher risk of developing type two diabetes later on, as well as their babies may have increased risk for health problems. 


Prediabetes  means that you have high blood sugar but it is not high enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis. If you have prediabetes, you should be routinely monitoring your blood sugar, and trying to reduce your blood sugar levels. 

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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 your extremities
  • Increased number of infections

Treating Diabetes 

Although the condition is not curable, there are several treatment options for each type of diabetes including insulin, diabetes medications and lifestyle changes. 


Insulin comes in a few different forms, and some types may be needed more frequently than others depending on onset and duration times. All type one diabetics will need insulin, however, those with less severe type two diabetes may not need it. 

Types of insulin include: 

  • Rapid-acting insulin, which has a 15 minute onset, and must be taken several times a day. 
  • Short-acting insulin, with an onset of 30 minutes, and may need to be taken multiple times per day. 
  • Intermediate-acting insulin, which has a 2-4 onset, and will usually only be taken once a day. 
  • Long-acting insulin, which has a 2 hour onset, and will only be needed daily. 

In addition to the types of insulin, this medication can be taken in the following ways: 

  • Inhaler 
  • Jet injector
  • Syringe and needle
  • Insulin pump
  • Pen
  • Artificial pancreas


Although insulin is the most common form of treating diabetes, there are a few other medications that can help those with type two diabetes manage their condition. Metformin is the most common medicine for type two diabetes, as it has properties that assist in lowering blood sugar. Talk to your primary care provider about other medications that may help you manage your type two diabetes. 

Lifestyle Changes 

Diabetes cannot be cured, however, significant lifestyle changes can help lessen the symptoms and severity of the condition. Lifestyle changes that can help treat diabetes include: 

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Losing weight
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Stick to an exercise plan
  • Stress management
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco products
  • Get routine checkups 

Additionally, if you find that healthy eating and routinely exercising is not helping you lose weight, you may be a candidate for bariatric (weight loss) surgery. 


When left untreated or unmanaged, the condition can lead to a variety of complications, including the following

  • Blindness and eye diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke 
  • Amputations 
  • Nerve damage

You may also be susceptible to what is called diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma, which is caused by leaving the condition untreated. This condition can last for unspecified lengths of time, and the only way to come out of one is with treatment. 

Turn To MainStreet Family Care

 Do you or a loved one suffer from diabetes? MainStreet Family Care can help! We offer treatment and management of many conditions in our primary care services, as well as offering primary care seven days a week. 

To visit our primary care providers, sign up for the patient portal and schedule your first appointment. You may even be able to get a same day or next day appointment. 

Sign Up Now! 

Step 1: Signup for the Patient Portal 

Step 2: Schedule Your First Appointment 

Register New Patient Portal Account

If you already have a portal account, simply log in.