Advanced care for diabetes in Denver

If high blood sugar from diabetes goes untreated, it can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys and other organs. HealthONE can help prevent this, offering ongoing monitoring, management and treatments. If you are at risk for developing diabetes, or have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, we can treat your symptoms and help you stay as healthy as possible.

To learn more about HealthONE's diabetes services, call us at (303) 575-0055.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes (also known as "sugar disease" or diabetes mellitus) is a disease that causes high blood sugar levels. In the human body, insulin (a hormone) moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. When you have diabetes, your body does not generate enough insulin or cannot effectively use what insulin it does make.

Am I at risk of developing diabetes?

There is no known specific cause of diabetes, but there are certain factors that have been shown to put one person at a higher risk over another. If you have more than one of these risk factors, especially if you are 40 years old or older, consult your physician:

  • You have previously been diagnosed with diabetes
  • You are pregnant (this may cause gestational diabetes, which needs special care during pregnancy but often resolves after the baby's birth)
  • You have a family history of diabetes
  • You are female and have had a child weighing more than nine pounds at birth
  • You belong to one of the following ethnic groups:
    • African American/Black
    • Asian
    • Hispanic, Latino/a, Mexican American
    • Native American/Pacific Islander
  • You are more than 20 pounds overweight or are clinically obese

What are the types of diabetes?

There are a few different types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is created.
  • Type 2 occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, causing sugar buildup in the blood.
  • Prediabetes develops when blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered Type 2.
  • Gestational diabetes happens during pregnancy, when hormones produced by the placenta block insulin and causes high blood sugar.

Diabetes-related conditions

If you have diabetes or are at risk for having it, there are many related conditions you need to be aware of. Talk to your doctor about:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma (HHNK)
  • Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS)
  • High blood sugar
  • High glucose
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Low blood sugar

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

You may have (or be at risk for developing) diabetes if you experience:

  • Blurry vision
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Weight loss

Men may also experience a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED) and poor muscle strength.

Women with diabetes may have urinary tract infections (UTIs), yeast infections and dry, itchy skin.

How do you treat adult diabetes?

Diabetes can be treated in a variety of ways, including using a few different medications. To find out the best treatment and management techniques for your unique situation, you will see an endocrinologist. This is a doctor who helps manage conditions of the endocrine system, such as diabetes.

Insulin injections

The main treatment for Type 1 diabetes is insulin injections. These replace the hormone your body is not able to produce. The four most commonly used types of insulin are: rapid-, short-, intermediate- and long-acting. What type of insulin you use depends on when and how long you need your insulin to perform.

Diet and exercise

For Type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise can help manage your symptoms. If lifestyle changes alone are not enough to lower your blood sugar, you will need to take medication.

How do you treat diabetes in children and teens?

Type 1 diabetes in pediatric patients is also known as "juvenile diabetes." It cannot be cured, but can be treated with a healthy diet, exercise and medication routine. HealthONE offers specialized care for children and adolescents with diabetes at our Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center. We will develop a treatment plan and monitor your child's progress, ensuring they can live a healthier life.

Can diabetes be prevented?

Type 1 diabetes is not preventable because it is caused by an issue with the immune system. There are also some instances in which Type 2 diabetes is not preventable because of factors that are not within your control, such as your genes or age.

Preventing Type 2 diabetes without medication

Despite this, many Type 2 diabetes risk factors are controllable. Most prevention strategies involve simply making adjustments to your diet and exercise routine, such as:

  • Cutting trans and saturated fats as well as refined carbohydrates out of your diet
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Eating smaller portions
  • Getting at least two to three hours of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, per week