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Copyright 2017 Davis Square Family Practice
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Somerville, MA 02144
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Davis Square Family Practice
Office Hours
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8am to 6pm
8am - 5pm
Deborah Bershel, MD
Michelle Clark, NP
Carmen Phillips, NP
"Call our office to receive logon credentials."
Barbara Kaplan, LICSW
Andrea Dandridge, NP
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What is Diabetes?

That turns out to be a very complicated question but in short it is a state where your body cannot ‘handle’ sugar in the typical way. You may not produce insulin ( a hormone produced by the pancreas which allows sugar to pass from the bloodstream into every cell of our body). That type of diabetes is called Type 1 or insulin-requiring diabetes. The other type of diabetes is due to a lack of insulin receptors on our cells and so that even though there may be plenty of insulin around it becomes relatively ineffective. This is termed Type 2 diabetes or adult onset diabetes. Currently 17% of those over 60 years of age have diabetes in the US!!

Why should I take better care of my diabetes?
By taking care of your diabetes, you can lower your chance of getting other serious medical problems. If you have diabetes, it means your body doesn't make enough insulin, or it doesn't use insulin the right way. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in your blood instead of going to your cells to be used for energy. After a while, high blood sugar can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves. This damage can lead to serious health problems for you, such as heart disease and blindness.

What can help me control my diabetes?
Approximately 95% of diabetes in the US is adult onset (Type 2) and there is no doubt that WEIGHT LOSS and EXERCISE are both the key to control and prevention of this very serious disease. Studies show that regular exercise will cut your risk of developing diabetes in half.  While absolutely necessary to live, avoiding excess carbohydrates (sugars and starches) in your diet can have a major impact.  I have seen patients come off of all medication from changing their diet and losing as little as 10-20 pounds. Make lifestyle changes that you think you can stick too but recognize that it turns out that for most people just ‘cutting back’ on portions just doesn’t work. Over time, the portions  seem to morph back to the same size as before. More rigid diets have been shown to be easier to stick to.

You can do several things to make it easier to control your diabetes. Along with your family doctor, the nurses, dietitians and other professionals, your family and your friends, you can choose a plan that works for you. Here are some steps that can help you:

• Learn more about diabetes. You might go to a patient education class. You might join a diabetes patient support group. The
  American Diabetes Association (ADA) can send you information, including the publication American Diabetes Association:
  Complete Guide to Diabetes (1996). If you join the ADA, you get a monthly magazine with helpful information, tips and stories
  about how other people cope with diabetes. Be sure to ask your doctor before you change your treatment.

• Tell us what's most important to you. A very important part of a good diabetes management plan is talking-plainly and often-with
  your doctor. Talk about what you think you can do and what you can't do. You are more likely to reach your goals if you helped
  plan them.

• Lower your blood cholesterol if it's high. Check with your doctor to see what your cholesterol level should be. Your doctor can help
  you bring a high level down. Set specific goals.  Plan specific ways to reach your goals. Start with making small changes in your
  daily life, like exercising every day. Lifestyle changes can be hard to make, so you should start with something small. Even a
  small success will make it easier for you to make other changes.

• Try to create a supportive environment for yourself. Get your family and your friends involved in your lifestyle changes. They will
  give you support in staying healthy. Your healthy lifestyle changes can be a chance for them to share a healthier lifestyle too. But
  remember, you're in charge of what's best for you. Your friends and family can't do it for you. Sometimes coping with all you're
  going through can feel like too much to your family and friends. A diabetes support group can give you the extra help and support
  you need. So can the doctors, nurses and dietitians on your health care team.

Where can I get more information about diabetes

•  Call-800-ADA-ORDER (1-800-232-6733) to learn more about American Diabetes Association publications.
•  Call-800-806-7801 to join the American Diabetes Association. As part of your membership, you get their magazine,
   Diabetes Forecast, every month.
•  To find diabetes information on the World Wide Web, visit

Last screened and modified by Dr. Bershel 1/2020
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