Life Is Sweeter With Less Sugar

Defeating Type 2 Diabetes

About one in every 10 Americans age 20 and older is suffering from a potentially life-altering condition that can be controlled, in part, by altering their diet, says Chaithanya Deepthi Buddha, MD, with
Florida Health Care Plans.

A proper diet may be all you need to reduce your A1C levels, according to Dr. Buddha.

That condition is Type 2 diabetes, and Dr. Buddha is not alone in her assessment. Most in the medical community agree the disease can be controlled by simply snacking smarter and making better choices
at mealtime.

“There are, of course, medications that help someone control Type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Buddha explains. “But the first thing I do with a patient who is newly diagnosed with diabetes is ask them to make some lifestyle modifications. That includes exercising at a moderate level for about 30 minutes each day, which is something you can build up to.

“But I also ask them to visit a nutrition specialist or dietician and get on a diet plan that’s tailored specifically to their needs. In some cases, the nutritionist may ask someone to reduce their usual portion size, or they may ask the patient to eliminate certain foods from their diet or incorporate new foods into their diet. Either way, diet and nutrition play a big role in managing diabetes.”

In most cases, simply altering the diet can keep a patient with Type 2 diabetes from needing medication in the first place, the doctor notes.

“I see it all the time,” she adds. “A change in diet may not resolve the issue 100 percent in every patient, but it definitely helps.”

Energy Efficient

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that develops when the body cannot properly use the energy it gets from food. That energy source is a simple sugar called glucose, which is released when food is broken down. But glucose needs help doing its job.

To get into cells and energize them, glucose needs insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. When the pancreas fails to produce insulin, or the body fails to use insulin efficiently, diabetes is the result.

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, which can be diagnosed through a blood test that measures glucose, or A1C levels, include increased hunger or thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, blurry vision, extreme fatigue and sores that are slow to heal.

Dr. Buddha explains that modifying a diet to include large portions of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins such as poultry and fish is the first step in lowering A1C levels. She further emphasizes the need to eliminate saturated and trans fats.

However, should those steps fail to lower A1C levels, medication may be necessary. Metformin is usually the first-line medication, when well tolerated, but Dr. Buddha explains that newer classes of medications are now available that not only help patients control A1C levels but offer additional benefits as well.

For example, there are certain classes of diabetes medications that not only help control blood sugar, but also protect the heart and kidney function and even help with weight loss.

“Again, diabetes increases your risk of developing heart disease and chronic kidney disease, and it’s one of the leading causes of blindness and foot amputations,” Dr. Buddha emphasizes. “So the first thing you want to do if you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is try some lifestyle modifications. And we can help you do that because Florida Health Care Plans has dieticians and a self-education program.

“Not all insurance companies have programs like that. Or if they do, there is usually a copay, or some other barrier attached to it. But with Florida Health Care Plans, everybody gets the opportunity to engage with a doctor about their issues.”

© FHCN articles by Roy Cummings. mkb
Print This Article
    • Florida Health Care Plans

      At Florida Health Care Plans (FHCP), they don't just provide insurance - they're your one-stop-shop for care. They have care facilities throughout their service area, many offering physician offices, lab, pharmacy, and radiology services... Read More

    • Kenneth J. Saluck, DO,

      Kenneth J. Saluck, DO, is board-certified in family medicine and has served the Brevard County community since 1990. He received his Doctor of Osteopathy degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Ost... Read More

    • Chaithanya Deepthi Buddha, MD

      Chaithanya Deepthi Buddha, MD, is board-certified in family medicine and served the Brevard County community since 2014. She received her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from Andhra Medical NTR University of Health Sc... Read More