Darin Moore, 46, of Fairfield, knew he had diabetes for 20 years and did all he could to control it but when several low blood sugar incidents left him feeling out of control, he made the decision to get more help.
Connecting with the NorthBay Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology, Darin found just what he needed: experts who specialize in diagnosing and treating diabetes.
“I had never actually had the definitive blood test done, so that was the first thing they did and they confirmed I have type 1 diabetes,” he explained.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can develop in adults. There is no cure and treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar. With type 2 diabetes, the body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it to maintain normal blood sugar levels. There’s no cure, but losing weight, eating well and exercising can help.
NorthBay’s Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology has two diabetologists — Sumera Ahmed, M.D. and Jay Shubrook, D.O. — who received advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes as well as endocrinologist John McKenna, M.D., who specializes in hormones and hormonal diseases, including diabetes.
“Dr. Shubrook is the one who confirmed my type of diabetes and it has been really life-changing seeing a specialist who was able to get the firm diagnosis and explain everything to me in detail,” said Darin. “I had to come to grips with the fact that I will not get rid of insulin for my type of diabetes. I could go on a low-carb diet and run miles every day and I would still need insulin. That was eye-opening to me.”
Dr. Shubrook said education is a key part of the work he and the other specialists do. “We try to be a resource to provide information and tools to make managing diabetes much easier,” he said. “There is a lot of fear around diabetes. People think it’s a death sentence but avoiding diagnosis and treatment can lead to complications.”
And getting screened is vital, said Dr. Ahmed. “People with diabetes think they feel normal. It’s not like a cold or a headache where you have a pain and fix it. They feel normal but their glucose is high.”
Getting screened involves a simple blood test.
That’s what happened with Darin and then technology helped him gain control.
“He was doing great work but struggling because he had no tools to make it easier to monitor and track his blood sugar levels,” said Dr. Shubrook. “We were able to get him an insulin pump and sensors that automated everything.”
An insulin pump is a small device worn on the outside of the body. A tube connects the reservoir of insulin to a catheter that’s inserted under the skin of the abdomen. Insulin pumps are programmed to dispense specific amounts of insulin automatically and when the person eats.
“It’s been like a godsend,” says Darin. “It’s automatic and it sends messages to my phone to remind me to eat something and so on.”
It’s working, he said. And his wife is able to sleep comfortably through the night now, he added with a laugh.