How MMJ Health can help Patients with Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body generates energy from food.

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What causes Diabetes?

Normally, most of the food you eat is broken down into glucose (sugar) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar rises, it will signal your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is the key that lets the blood sugar into your body’s cells to be used as an energy source.

However, if you have diabetes, one of two things happens:

Either, your body does not make enough insulin or your body can’t use the insulin it makes the way it should. When there is not enough insulin or when cells do not respond to insulin, too much blood sugar is left behind  in your bloodstream. Over an extended period of time this can cause serious health issues like kidney disease, vision loss, and heart disease.

Types of Diabetes

There are 3 main types of diabetes:

Type 1 : Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction (a type of disorder where the body attacks itself by mistake) that stops the body from producing insulin. About 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1 and symptoms often develop quite quickly. Children, teens and young adults are usually those who develop type 1 at an early age. If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to take insulin every day to survive. Known risk factors include: family history of type 1 diabetes and being of young age (children, teen or young adult). Currently, there is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. 

Type 2 : Type 2 diabetes is characterized by the body’s inability to use insulin properly and keep the body’s blood sugar at normal levels. A majority of the population that has diabetes, about 90-95%, have type 2 diabetes. This type develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults, but in recent times we see it more often in children, teens and young adults as well. You may not notice the symptoms right away with this type of diabetes, so it is important to get your blood sugar tested regularly if you are at risk for the disease.

  • Risk factors include: 
      • Prediabetes
      • Being overweight
      • Age 45 years or older
      • Have an immediate family member with type 2 diabetes
      • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
      • Previously having gestational diabetes 
      • Have had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or the progress can be slowed-down with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy foods and increasing physical activity.

Gestational diabetes : Diabetes that a person develops while pregnant, is known as gestational diabetes. This can develop in pregnant women who have never had diabetes before as well. This type of diabetes may increase the risk for a baby to develop health problems, like childhood or teen obesity or type 2 diabetes later on in life.  Typically, gestational diabetes in the mother goes away after the baby is born,  but may increase your chance of developing type 2 diabetes later on in life.

Prediabetes : in the U.S. 88 million adults – that is more than 1 in 3 – have a condition known as prediabetes. Studies have shown that more than 84% of those with the condition, do not know they have it! Those afflicted with prediabetes have higher than normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This condition may raise your risk for type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. However, there are steps you can take including healthy lifestyle changes to reverse it! 

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Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes may include:

Symptoms of Type 1 : People with type 1 diabetes may also experience nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains. These can develop in a few weeks or over a few months and may be severe. 

Symptoms of Type 2 : People with type 2 diabetes develop slowly, over a several year time period and may persist for a long time without being noticed. Since it can be hard to spot symptoms or there may be none – it is important to know the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and visit your doctor for regular blood sugar testing.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes : This type usually shows up in the middle of pregnancy and typically does not have physical symptoms. If you are pregnant you should be tested between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy so you can make changes if needed to protect your baby’s and your own health. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Diagnosing Diabetes

There are several ways your doctor may diagnose diabetes depending on the type they suspect you may have developed.

Symptoms from type 1 diabetes usually lead to testing blood sugar levels. Since symptoms from other types of diabetes and prediabetes may be harder to spot there are screening criteria for those who should be tested.

That criteria includes: 

  • Anyone with a body mass index higher than 25 regardless of age that has additional risk factors like high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyle, a history of polycystic ovary syndrome or heart disease and those with close relatives that also have diabetes. 
  • Anyone older than age 45 should get an initial blood sugar test and be screened every 3 years if results are normal. 
  • Women who have previously had gestational diabetes should be screened every 3 years.
  • Anyone who has been diagnosed with prediabetes should be tested each year.

However, there are tests for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Your doctor may run the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test that does not require fasting and indicates your average blood sugar level for the most recent 3 months. It will also measure the percentage of blood sugar attached to the hemoglobin. 

The higher the blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you’ll have with sugar attached. If you receive results of two tests with an A1C level of 6.5% or higher, you have diabetes. A test result of A1C between 5.7% –  6.4% indicates prediabetes. Anything below 5.7% is considered within the normal range.

If these tests are not conclusive, your doctor may also recommend random blood sugar testing, a fasting blood sugar test or an oral glucose tolerance test to determine whether or not you have developed diabetes or a prediabetic condition. 

If type 1 is suspected the patient will receive a urine test to look for the presence of a byproduct produced when the body uses muscle and fat tissue for energy instead of insulin for the available glucose called ketones or a test to see if you have developed destructive immune system cells called autoantibodies. If gestational diabetes is suspected, your glucose levels may be tested periodically throughout the pregnancy to ensure it does not develop.

Please see a licensed doctor in order to get properly diagnosed with Diabetes. MMJ Health has professional and knowledgeable Medical Marijuana Specialists that can create a treatment plan that works for your lifestyle.

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What can a Florida Medical Marijuana clinic do for Diabetes?

While there is not yet a cure for diabetes, there are steps you can take to help curb the effects. Losing weight, eating healthy food and being active are some things that are doable on a day-to-day basis that really make a difference. To further reduce the impact of diabetes on daily life you should take your prescribed medications as needed, get diabetes self-management education and support, and keep up with health care appointments. 

Under Amendment 2, Diabetes may be a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana card in Florida.

If you are currently suffering from Diabetes and would like to talk to our certified Florida Marijuana doctors, you can book an appointment and come to any of our 10 convenient MMJ Health locations.