Diabetes Specialist

Firas Zakaria, MD

Board-Certified Internist located in Palos Heights, IL

Establishing care with a physician you trust is vital to managing diabetes and preventing the serious health complications associated with this complex condition. Dr. Firas Zakaria is a highly skilled internal medicine specialist in Palos Heights, Illinois. You can rely on him to design a diabetic treatment plan with a patient-first approach that keeps you involved in the process. For effective diabetes management or help in preventing this disease from affecting your life, call Dr. Zakaria’s office today for an appointment or use his convenient online scheduling service.

Diabetes Q & A

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes affects the amount of sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream. Glucose is an important source of energy that provides the fuel your cells need to function. Your body needs the correct amount of glucose to maintain health, and when you have diabetes, you have too much glucose in your blood. That can lead to very serious health problems.

What Health Problems Does Diabetes Cause?

When you have uncontrolled diabetes, you may develop:

  • Cardiovascular disease that can lead to coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart attack
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy) caused by excess sugar in your bloodstream, injuring the walls of the tiny blood vessels that provide nourishment to your nerves
  • Kidney damage that may eventually require dialysis or even kidney transplant
  • Damage to the eyes that may lead to blindness

Because blood glucose is also the main fuel source for your brain, Many experts believe that uncontrolled diabetes might increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The good news is that many effective treatments exist to help control your blood sugar and decrease the risks of these serious complications.

What Causes Diabetes?

In order for your cells to capture and use the glucose in your bloodstream, your pancreas must produce insulin. This hormone essentially unlocks your cells so they can absorb the glucose they need. When your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or your cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, your blood sugar levels rise.

There are several types of diabetes, but the most common are type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood but may affect adults as well. It occurs when your immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. The result is little to no natural insulin circulating in your bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form and occurs when your cells become resistant to insulin, and your pancreas can’t make enough to overcome the resistance. This causes unhealthy levels of sugar in your bloodstream.

What are the Treatments for Diabetes?

Treatment depends on the type of diabetes you have and may include oral medications or insulin injections. Successful diabetes management also includes a nutritious diet, appropriate levels of physical activity, and careful monitoring of your blood sugar levels. Relatively simple changes in your lifestyle can also help prevent type 2 diabetes.