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Diabetes Doesn’t Have to Derail Your Life

Dr. Delia M. Stefan of Phelps Medical Associates.
Dr. Delia M. Stefan of Phelps Medical Associates. Photo Credit: Phelps

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- Affecting more than 29.1 million Americans, diabetes has become one of the most common diseases today. Like many disorders, understanding the facts and treatment options is the first step in preventing and managing diabetes.

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient levels of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. As a result, the body has a difficult time converting carbohydrates into energy, as well as maintaining a stable blood glucose level.

According to Dr. Delia M. Stefan, an endocrinologist with Phelps Medical Associates, there are two different types of diabetes. "Type I diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a highly aggressive disease that shows up earlier in life than the other form of diabetes. Type II diabetes manifests later in life and progresses at a much slower rate than Type I diabetes. Incidence is more related to obesity and heredity."

Although those suffering from Type II diabetes display very few symptoms, once the disorder is identified, there are a variety of treatment options. "Treatment usually focuses on changing diet and exercise routines to promote weight loss," reveals Dr. Stefan. "Recommended dietary changes include high-fiber foods, low-fat foods, and limited refined carbohydrates. In some cases, diet and exercise alone can bring blood glucose levels back to normal."

For those diagnosed with aggressive Type I, treatment is more intensive. "All receive insulin to compensate for their body’s inability to produce it," emphasizes Dr. Stefan. "Type I diabetics must monitor blood glucose readings throughout the day and limit the consumption of foods that cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly, such as cake and cookies."

Not all people with elevated blood glucose readings have diabetes. About 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a preliminary form of the disease in which blood glucose levels are slightly elevated. In most cases, diet and exercise can normalize the values.

Once diagnosed, controlling diabetes is imperative for a higher quality of long-term health. "Uncontrolled diabetes can impact almost every organ in the body, including the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves, gums, and teeth. People with diabetes are more likely to have heart problems and strokes, as well as an increased susceptibility to blood vessel or nerve damage," says Dr. Stefan, “which is why it is important to keep it under control.”

To learn more or to make an appointment with Dr. Stefan, call: 914-366- 2270.