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diagram of risk factors associated with diabetesDiabetes is a serious health condition. This disease interferes and interrupts the body’s ability to use and control insulin. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that more than one million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year. Unfortunately, for each person diagnosed with the illness, another six don’t realize they have a serious metabolic disorder. Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine advocates regular physical exams and routine diabetes screening tests for all patients.

This condition brings the possibility of many complications into the patient’s life, including stroke, blindness or heart attack. It may be passed on from parents to children through heredity or may result from poor lifestyle choices through the patient’s life. Diabetes is classified into two types: type 1 and type 2:

  • Type 2 Diabetes is considered more common and is an adult-onset condition.
  • Type 1 Diabetes is considered a juvenile form of the disease.

However, as higher numbers of children become obese, public health officials predict higher numbers of preteens and teenagers will suffer with this form of the disease.

Development of Type 2

Diet and exercise, or lifestyle factors, are considered very important in the development of type 2 diabetes. The individual who eats a high fat and sugar diet over years unknowingly changes his or her body function over time. High carbohydrate and refined foods actually cause an addiction. The individual may know these types of foods and beverages aren’t healthy but he or she experiences cravings and a need for these foods. Over time, the individual carries unhealthy levels of fat on the body. Fat carried in the middle of the torso, or the so-called apple shape, is considered the most dangerous area to carry too much fat. The adipose tissue is in close proximity to the body’s important internal organs and, the longer it stays in place, the more risk is borne by the patient.

Diet and Exercise, Pancreas Function

Poor diet will literally begin to destroy the patient’s body from the inside out as high fat and sugar damages and overloads the pancreas. Since the pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin and many of the body’s digestive enzymes, the development of diabetes progresses. Insulin is a type of hormone and the body uses insulin to convert foods into energy. When the body is unable to make insulin because the pancreas is damaged, the body starts to store energy from food as fat. Extra body fat, especially stored in the mid-section, indicates resistance to insulin. Ultimately, the individual’s body develops diabetes.

Diet and regular exercise can reverse some of the damage to the patient’s body. The doctor may identify “pre-diabetes” or high blood sugar during a regular patient examination. The patient and doctor may agree to a plan in which the individual adjusts lifestyle factors.

A diet high in fiber, including fresh organic fruits and vegetables, controlled amounts of lean protein, and whole grains can help the individual to restore health. Aerobic exercise, at least thirty minutes a session, five days per week, can help the patient to reduce stress, lose weight, and improve metabolic function.

If exercise and diet adjustments don’t work in reducing the patient’s blood sugar and body fat levels, the patient must use prescription medication and/or insulin to control the disease process. Without medical intervention, diabetes will eventually affect the patient’s organs and possibility result in death.

Symptoms of Type 2 – Adult Onset Diabetes

In some cases, the patient finds he or she can’t lose weight when trying to reduce. In other instances, he or she loses a great deal of weight rather quickly. Dizziness, blurred vision, cramps, unusual thirst, urinary frequency, slow wound healing, and impotence can signal the onset of adult diabetes.

The average adult needs eight to ten glasses of pure water each day. If this level of water doesn’t quench thirst, the patient should contact the doctor right away.

Symptoms of Type 1 – Juvenile Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes can actually occur in people of any age, though it is most common diagnosed in children to young adults. Type 1 diabetes results in the body’s inability to produce insulin. (In comparison Type 2 diabetes happens when the body is resistant to the insulin it produces.) Without insulin, glucose levels builds in the bloodstream. Sugar can’t go to the body’s cells as energy.

Scientists don’t understand why individuals get type 1 diabetes. They theorize that the condition is an autoimmune disease, or one in which the body misidentifies its own tissues as invaders. The immune system therefore attacks itself and, over time, destroys healthy cells and organs. Although an infection or other trigger can start the body’s attack on the pancreas (which makes insulin), researchers don’t understand how the process is initiated. However, this type of diabetes can be passed on through genetics.

Type 1 Progression

The progression of Type 1 diabetes can occur rapidly and symptoms can progress from negligible to severe. Some individuals may need to be admitted to the hospital. Others will require a weekly doctor’s checkup to ensure blood sugar control. Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine works closely with diabetics and their families.

The doctor must review home blood sugar monitoring and urine tests’ results. If the patient is a young child, the doctor reviews the parents’ diary of insulin injections, meals and snack foods. The process of matching insulin to meal and activity schedules can take several weeks. The doctor’s goal is to stabilize the patient’s blood sugar and reduce the numbers of doctor’s office follow-ups.


Diabetes is a serious metabolic disorder and either form of the disease requires medical supervision and treatment. Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine encourages all current and prospective patients with concerns about diabetes to make an office appointment. Patients throughout greater metropolitan Atlanta, including Alpharetta, Cumming, Roswell, Suwanee, Dawsonville, Duluth, and Johns Creek should call Dr. Zack Charkawi today at 770-771-6591.