Is Diabetes Considered a Chronic Illness?
There are many medical conditions and terms that we often hear thrown around on a near day-to-day basis, but when we stop to think about it, how many of these words do we actually understand. Chronic illness is a term we've likely all heard at some point in our lives. However, its actual definition is often misunderstood by many patients. Today, Nest Family Medicine in Plano, TX is hoping to educate our patients on chronic illness and, specifically, how it relates to diabetes. If you continue to have questions about these subjects and how they relate to your health, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with board-certified family physician, Dr. Priti Ranjan, today.
What is diabetes?
Before we discuss chronic illnesses any further, it's important to take a moment to explain exactly what diabetes is and how it works. Diabetes is a disease that disrupts your body's ability to effectively convert food into energy. When we eat food, our body gradually breaks it down into sugar, which is then released into our bloodstream. However, it's important for our body to regulate the amount of sugar within our blood. In order to do this, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream, which stimulates the cells into absorbing the blood sugar to be used as energy. The problem for those with diabetes is that their body is unable to either produce or respond to this insulin.
Depending on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your body may be unable to create the necessary amount of insulin, or the insulin it does make may not work effectively. Whatever the case, converting blood sugar into energy is a necessary bodily function that, if left untreated, could lead to serious health issues, including:
- Heart disease
- Vision loss
- Kidney failure
There is no cure for diabetes. Once it begins to affect your body, it will be something that you will likely have to take into account for the rest of your life. However, there are certain medications, such as insulin injections, Dr. Ranjan can prescribe to any patient of Nest Family Medicine in Plano, TX in order to help their body properly function. Additionally, losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and consistently exercising have proven to be helpful ways to reduce the effects of diabetes.
What is a chronic illness?
Now, how does diabetes relate to chronic disease? A chronic illness describes a multitude of medical conditions that typically take time to develop and last for at least three months. In fact, many chronic diseases can last for years or even the rest of the patient's life and have no cure.
With this information in mind, it is easy to see that diabetes is clearly considered to be a chronic illness. Not only does it last for over three months, but it will also affect patients for the rest of their lives due to the lack of a cure. While this might sound incredibly scary, nearly 10% of the population of the United States has diabetes. Most are able to properly manage it with a thorough diagnosis combined with effective medication and healthy lifestyle choices.
Learn more about diabetes
If there are signs that you or someone in your family might be experiencing symptoms of diabetes, it is important to have it diagnosed as soon as possible. Nest Family Medicine is home to a talented team of medical professionals who have dedicated their lives to providing the best possible care to our patients. Give us a call today to have us answer any of your questions or to set up an appointment with Dr. Priti Ranjan at our practice in Plano, TX.