Helping you take a hands-on approach to prevention, education and treatment
We believe knowledge is power! Adventist Health Tillamook's diabetes educators and primary care providers work together with you to provide the services and support you need. Together we can help control your diabetes, allowing you to live a healthier and fuller life with fewer complications.
Adventist Health Tillamook offers nutrition counseling for diabetes education and support. For more information, call (503) 815-2443. If you are calling from North Tillamook County, please call 503-368-6544, ext. 2443.
Recognizing diabetes warning signs
Diabetes is on the rise and contributes to a host of other often life-threatening diseases and conditions such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and even amputation. It is a serious condition that is critical to diagnose, treat and manage as early as possible.
In the United States, 96 million people have prediabetes with over 80% not knowing they have it. This means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. With education and lifestyle changes you can keep prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.
More than 37 million people have diabetes with 20% not realizing they have the disease. The early symptoms of diabetes can be subtle and easily mistaken for symptoms of something else. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms, particularly if you are overweight or have a family history with the disease:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Increased fatigue
- Blurry vision
Increased urination and thirst are usually the first noticeable signs. Excessive hunger is usually quick to follow, and if you have not gained weight despite your increased appetite then you should seriously consider getting tested for diabetes.
You may be at higher risk of diabetes if you:
- Are over 40 years of age
- Are overweight
- Have a history of diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Have had diabetes during pregnancy
- Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
- Have the stress of an illness or injury
Types of diabetes
Diabetes affects your body's ability to either produce or properly use insulin and is categorized into three variations:
- Type 1 diabetes: Predominantly found in children and adolescents, type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition in which the body has a difficult time producing insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot convert sugar to energy, which is why people with diabetes must receive insulin injections.
- Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes typically occurs in adulthood. This type of diabetes increases your body’s resistance to insulin. Patients with type 2 diabetes have to closely monitor their blood sugar levels and live a healthy lifestyle.
- Gestational diabetes: This is the only known temporary form of diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually ends shortly after. However, if you had gestational diabetes you are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and should take preventative measures.
Diagnosis and treatment
When your healthcare provider wants to confirm or rule out a diabetes diagnosis, they usually order a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This is a blood test that can measure your average blood sugar levels from the past two to three months. If the test comes back with a high level of hemoglobin, this is usually confirmation that you have diabetes.
Diabetes management needs to begin as soon as you receive a diagnosis. The earlier you learn how to treat diabetes, the easier it will be to carry those lessons through the rest of your life and prevent serious complications.
The most important elements of diabetes treatment include:
- Monitoring blood sugar
- Receiving insulin therapy
- Taking medication to produce insulin or break down carbohydrates
- Receiving a pancreas transplant in severe cases where it is difficult to control diabetes
If you have prediabetes, there is still a chance you can prevent the onset of full diabetes. You and your care team can create an exercise and diet plan that will help your body delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Importance of regular checkups
There’s a lot to do to manage diabetes, from daily self-care to lab tests and visits with your health care team. Here are some of the regular checkups you may need:
Every three to six months
Visit your provider: You should see your provider every three to six months for an exam. Your provider will monitor your blood sugar and change your medications if needed. He or she will also ensure that you are up-to-date on your care. It is OK to ask your provider to check your feet at each visit.
A Hemoglobin A1C lab test tells your provider what your average blood sugar has been over the last three months. The American Diabetes Association recommends people with diabetes should aim to have an HbA1C of less than 7%. Discuss with your provider what your target number should be.
Twice a year
Visit your dentist: People with diabetes have an increased risk for dental problems, so plan to get a dental exam every six months.
Once a year
Get a lipid panel: This test measures your cholesterol levels. Diabetes can lower your “good” cholesterol and increase the “bad” cholesterol, so monitoring your levels is important for your heart health.
Get your eyes screened: People with diabetes are at risk for serious eye problems. Plan to visit your provider and get your eyes checked once a year. In many of our primary care clinics, you can also have your eyes screened using the RetinaVue® camera when you visit your primary care provider. If you have eye problems because of diabetes, you will likely see your eye health provider more often.
Get a foot exam: Your provider should check the pulses in your feet and your reflexes at least once a year. Your provider should also check your feet for calluses, infections, sores and loss of feeling. (If you have had foot ulcers before, you need to see your provider more often for foot exams, about every three to six months.) Check your feet often at home as well. Use a mirror to see the bottoms if needed.
Get kidney function tests: Over time, diabetes can affect the kidneys’ ability to clean the blood properly and remove extra fluid. These tests will tell your provider how well your kidneys are working and if there are any signs for concern.
The following websites contain valuable information about diabetes for you and your loved ones.