Endocrinologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosing and treatment of diabetes, a serious disease that affects the metabolic processes in humans. These diabetes doctors practice a field of medicine called endocrinology. Endocrinology is the study of the endocrine system, a complex network of glands and organs that create and release hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that direct various parts and systems in our body to maintain and sustain life, among other functions. These hormones, and the endocrine system that manages them, fall out of balance, metabolic functions become disrupted and our bodies become susceptible to disease. One of these possible diseases is diabetes, the subject of this article.
Diabetes treatment often involves more than just an endocrinologist. Oftentimes, people may need the assistance of a full diabetes care team that includes endocrinologists, nutritionists, dieticians, and other therapists. This team is responsible for the creation and execution of a care plan that has the goal of managing diabetes in a way that improves a patient’s prognosis and allows them to live a longer and healthier life.
The Main Types Of Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. In Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make any insulin. In Type 2, your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, and the insulin it is making doesn’t always work as it should. Both types are forms of diabetes mellitus, meaning they lead to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
There are 2 main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Both types of diabetes involve a disruption in the production of insulin. Regardless of the type of diabetes, the result of the disease always involves the risk of suffering from high blood sugar levels.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is caused by a genetic condition where the body attacks the cells in your pancreas responsible for the production of insulin. This results in the inability of the pancreas to produce any insulin. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes and the cause of this disease is unknown. Without insulin, your body cannot control blood sugar levels which can lead to serious and often life-threatening conditions if left untreated. Type 1 diabetes is treated with regular insulin injections for the life of the patient.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is the result of lifestyle choices, though there are some genetic dispositions than can influence the development of the disease. Type 2 diabetes manifests when the pancreas cannot create enough insulin to properly control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented if recognized early enough and lifestyle changes are implemented in time to mitigate the development of the disease. Treatment often includes diet and exercise regimes as well as medication in some cases. Once type 2 diabetes has been developed, it becomes permanent and will require lifelong intervention to keep it under control.
Obesity and Diabetes
Obesity is a leading cause of preventable death in today’s society. Obesity is also a leading cause of the development of type 2 diabetes and the complications that arise with this particular disease.
Obesity and diabetes are inextricably tied to metabolic function and all of them influence each other in predictable ways. As we age, our metabolism begins to decrease. When this happens, we experience decreased muscle mass and bone density. We no longer require the number of calories to function as we once used to. As such, our diets need to accommodate the decreased energy demands that our bodies now require.
As we age, our bodies still experience the stresses of everyday life and respond to those stresses in a diminished capacity. In other words, we take longer to heal. Joints and muscles become sore easier and more often. And we tend to treat these stresses the same way we did when we were younger – we eat foods that taste good and give us a dopamine rush – often without considering the consequences of those choices.
We are also more sedentary. This means that the extra calories we consume are not being burned as fast as they used to be. These calories are turned into fat and stored in the body. As this fat accumulates, our metabolic rate cannot keep up with the extra demand and becomes stressed. As time goes on, waist lines become bigger and our metabolic functions begin to affect the endocrine system. The same endocrine system responsible for the production and management of hormones such as insulin.
Eventually, a vicious feedback loop has been created and our risk of developing type 2 diabetes has increased.
Obesity is an important topic to explore when talking about metabolism and diabetes treatment. Being obese or being overweight results from a complex biology whereby the body increases the amount of fat it wants to hold on to. As a result, people with obesity may crave more calorie-dense foods and are more likely to store extra calories as fat. The result is weight gain, or more specifically, an increase in the amount of fat the body wants to carry. Contributors are thought to be unhealthy diet, unhealthy muscle, lack of sleep, disruptions in circadian rhythm, and weight gain-promoting mediations, among others.