Diabetes Management for Houston Patients
Over the years, diabetes has become one of the most common health problems in the United States. Doctors are saying that we’re experiencing a diabetes “epidemic!”
Most people view diabetes as something that’s fairly normal or even inevitable. And once you develop the condition, you’re stuck with it for life.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Diabetes isn’t a normal health condition, and you don’t have to manage symptoms for the rest of your life. Dr. Cheryl Winter, DCN, FNP-BC, APRN, RDN specializes in diabetes management for Houston patients. Using functional medicine techniques you can prevent and even reverse the effects of diabetes. If you live in Houston, you don’t have to settle for a life of chronic illness
What’s the Deal with Diabetes?
Insulin is the hormone that regulates sugar levels in our bodies. When the body has too much sugar, the pancreas starts pumping out more insulin to regulate sugar levels. If sugar levels don’t subside over time, the pancreas stalls and can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the amount of sugar in the body. The pancreas’s inability to produce enough insulin is known as type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes leads to many other chronic health problems: high blood pressure, kidney problems, nerve damage, and retinal complications.
Type 2 diabetes may be common, but it’s not something doctors should take lightly!
How to Test for Diabetes
Doctors have several ways of identifying diabetes in their patients. Dr. Winter performs lab tests to gather a basic understanding of a person’s blood sugar levels. She normally conducts the following tests:
The Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) test measures your blood sugar after an 8-to 12-hour fast. These blood sugar levels aren’t affected by the food you eat.
The Hemoglobin test (or HbA1c) gauges the amount of hemoglobin fused to sugar. Hemoglobin proteins normally transport oxygen through the bloodstream, but when someone has high blood sugar, these proteins attach to the extra sugars.
To make sure the test results are accurate and reliable, Dr. Winter compares them to other tests and biomarkers such as:
- Fasting leptin levels
- Fasting insulin levels
- And more
The lab results will identify the level of chronic blood sugar levels. Depending on the amount of excess blood sugar, you may be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, or another type of diabetes. No matter what the results identify, Dr. Winter is ready and able to help you reverse diabetes.
How to Manage Diabetes in Houston
Once a patient is diagnosed with diabetes, most doctors focus on helping them manage their symptoms instead of trying to reverse the problem altogether. Visit a typical hospital in Houston, and this is the kind of care you’re likely to receive.
Dr. Winter, however, seeks to find the deeper cause behind diabetes and get rid of it—just like uprooting a stubborn weed! While you work to identify and eradicate the root issue behind diabetes, there are effective ways of managing diabetes at home:
Regular testing. No matter your level of diabetes, it’s important to regularly measure your blood sugar levels. First, an A1C test gives your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. Blood pressure and cholesterol level tests are also important measurements to help you and your doctor monitor your health as you make changes. Depending on your goals, a good doctor (like Dr. Winter!) will identify what’s working in your treatment plan and make adjustments as necessary.
Nutrition. What you eat plays a huge factor in every aspect of your health, and it’s especially important for diabetes patients. For people with diabetes, this normally involves reducing the amount of processed carbs, sugars, and alcohol and focusing on eating whole, balanced meals. Dr. Winter also recommends adding cacao, blueberries, tea, and coffee into the diet to help reverse diabetes. She provides diabetes patients with nutrition counseling to help with diabetes management for Houston patients.
Regular exercise. When you exercise, your body uses glucose (sugar!) as energy. All forms of movement help balance blood sugar levels—whether you move frequently throughout the day or go to the gym to pump some iron! Ask your doctor about an exercise plan in addition to nutrition counseling.
Stress management. The term “worried sick” is actually very true! In these times our bodies and minds are in a constant state of stress. This releases cortisol, our stress hormone, and makes it harder for the body to release insulin. Take control of your stress and mental health by engaging in self-care activities such as journaling, stretching, bubble baths, or reading. Don’t be afraid to get professional help to learn how to cope with anxiety and improve your mood.
Medication. Many traditional doctors prescribe medication to lower blood sugar levels. However, this ends up being a “band-aid” fix; it’s not addressing the deeper issue behind diabetes. It’s Dr. Winter’s goal to help her patients reverse diabetes completely.
Manage Diabetes with Functional Medicine
Most doctors wait until a patient’s blood sugar levels have gotten way too high before they start treatment. Dr. Cheryl Winter uses functional medicine to address the root cause of diabetes rather than treating the symptoms. This approach is fundamentally based on preventing and treating diabetes through lifestyle and diet alterations.
Diabetes is just another form of imbalance in the body. Dr. Winter begins treatment with hormone and nutrient testing to identify the source behind diabetes. She focuses on the endocrine system, which produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. She utilizes a nutrition and exercise plan, stress management techniques, and Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) to completely reverse diabetes instead of managing outlying symptoms.