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Lee Physician Group

Control Diabetes, Avoid Complications

Control Diabetes and avoid complications If not properly controlled, diabetes can result in a range of complications. Careful attention and a strong commitment to one's health can help diabetic patients avoid problems.

"Complications can be avoided or their onset delayed by understanding the disease and how to control it," says Alfred Gitu, M.D., a family medicine physician. "This is done through modifications to our lifestyle—such as adjusting our diet, weight loss and exercise—as well as the use of medications."

Dr. Gitu adds that the physician may prescribe the medications to control blood sugar and any other related problems, but it is the patient who ensures success in managing his or her disease. "The patient needs to 'get in the driver's seat' and take control of the disease, rather than let the disease control them," he says. "Diabetes is a chronic disease and it tends to last a long time—a lifetime for most—so good control is key to a full, productive, healthy life."

In his practice, Dr. Gitu sees complications that range from very low or very high blood sugar to diabetic wounds, nerve damage, kidney failure and diabetic eye disease. Depending on the patient and the type of complications, Dr. Gitu will co-manage patients with other specialists, such as endocrinologists, vascular surgeons nephrologists, ophthalmologists and cardiologists.

"Compared to patients without diabetes, patients with diabetes have twice the risk of having blockages in the heart's blood vessels and risk having a heart attack or stroke," explains Murali Muppala, M.D., cardiologist. "This results from the effects on the lining of the blood vessels and clotting mechanism and changing cholesterol composition within the plaque. Plaque ruptures result in heart attacks."

Diabetes combined with other conditions further increases the cardiovascular risk. "Patients with the combination of abdominal obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol abnormalities are considered to have metabolic syndrome," Dr. Muppala says. "If a patient also has elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL), microalbuminuria—or loss of protein in the urine—and they smoke, they have the highest risk for premature coronary artery disease. Patients with these risk factors need to aggressively modify their lifestyle and risk factors in order to decrease their chance of developing early heart disease."

Dr. Muppala suggests talking to your physician if you have a family history of diabetes. Together, you and your physician can analyze and control risk factors to minimize the risk of heart disease.

Another complication for diabetics is damage to the feet, and if left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections.

"The most worrisome wound for a diabetic is one on the weight-bearing surfaces of the foot and toes," says Robert Kupsaw, M.D., wound care physician. "These are the wounds that most likely lead to infection of the underlying bones, and consequent amputation."

Dr. Kupsaw says avoiding foot wounds should be one of the most important goals for diabetic patients. He provides the following tips:

  • Never walk around barefoot
  • Always wear well- and properly-fitted shoes and cushioned socks
  • Keep calluses professionally trimmed to avoid developing ulcers
  • Keep nails trimmed
  • Inspect the feet daily for signs of blisters, early wounds, broken calluses or poorfitting shoes

Dr. Kupsaw says the cornerstones of treatment for foot wounds are:

  • Keeping the wound clean
  • Avoiding and eliminating bearing weight on the wound
  • Assuring adequate blood flow to the area
  • Eliminating any associated infection

"Having yourself or a loved one diagnosed with diabetes can be an overwhelming experience," Dr. Gitu says. "But, it should be reassuring to know that there have been significant advances in the understanding and management of this disease, and that with good care, you should be able to enjoy a full and unhindered lifestyle."

Lee Diabetes Care offers comprehensive education and consultation services for people with diabetes. Working with your physician, our educators develop an individualized plan to help you manage and control your diabetes. For more information, call 239-424-3127.

“Complications can be avoided or their onset delayed by understanding the disease and how to control it,” says Dr. Gitu. “This is done through modifications to our lifestyle—such as adjusting our diet, weight loss and exercise—as well as the use of medications.”

Recognizing Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

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Alfred Gitu, M.D.
Family Medicine
Lee Physician Group
2780 Cleveland Avenue, Suite 709
Fort Myers, FL 33901
239-343-3831

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Robert Kupsaw, M.D.
Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine
Lee Physician Group
13778 Plantation Road
Fort Myers, FL 33912
239-343-0454

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Murali Muppala, M.D.
Cardiology
Lee Physician Group
14051 Metropolis Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33912
239-334-7177

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