Comprehensive diabetes care in Richmond

At Johnston-Willis Hospital, our diabetes specialists help patients who have been diagnosed with any type of diabetes maintain their health. Through health education and support resources, we help you manage your diabetes so you can lead a healthy life.

For more information about our diabetes care services, please call (804) 320-3627.

Types of diabetes we treat

When you have diabetes, your body has a decreased ability to produce insulin, a hormone that converts glucose (sugar) to energy. If the cells in the body can't use insulin effectively, the glucose remains in the body, potentially causing damage to the organs and leading to significant health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney damage, chronic wounds and stroke.

Common forms of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 diabetes: Usually appearing in childhood or early adulthood, this type of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Individuals with Type 1 have to take insulin injections to regulate their glucose levels. Type 1 diabetes is often inherited and cannot be avoided.
  • Type 2 diabetes: This type of diabetes can occur at any age but generally becomes apparent during adulthood. With Type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin (unlike Type 1), but is unable to process it properly. Due to the rising trend of increased obesity and inactive lifestyles, Type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 90 percent of all diabetes cases.
  • Prediabetes: If you have this type of diabetes, it means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2.
  • Gestational diabetes: This condition involves raised glucose levels in a small percentage of women during pregnancy. Hormones can have a blocking effect on insulin, causing other diabetic symptoms.

Diabetes screening

Per the American Diabetes Association, individuals should get screened for diabetes every three years, beginning at 45 years old, even if you are not experiencing symptoms. In order to diagnose diabetes, blood screening tests are used to measure blood sugar levels.

Diabetes symptoms and risk factors

Diabetes symptoms show up in a variety of ways. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing:

  • Extreme thirst or hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Wounds that are slow to heal
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue or weakness

Certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing diabetes. You may be at risk if you:

  • Have a family history of diabetes, heart disease or stroke
  • Have an inactive or sedentary lifestyle
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds

Diabetes treatment and management

No matter which type of diabetes you have, the goal of diabetes treatment is to properly maintain the glucose level in your blood. The diabetes care team at Johnston-Willis will develop a treatment plan based on your needs while providing education and resources to help you live life fully while managing your diabetes.

Type 1 diabetics will need to monitor their blood-sugar levels and give their body insulin throughout the day, usually through injections or an insulin pump that provides continuous doses.

Type 2 diabetics may not have to take insulin to regulate their blood sugar, but usually do require some form of medication. Maintaining a healthy weight, making healthy food choices and getting physical exercise are key factors in helping a person with Type 2 diabetes manage their disease. Type 1 diabetics will also see benefits from leading a healthier lifestyle.