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Diabetes Education

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One of the largest health concerns in the Upper Cumberland is diabetes. Cookeville Regional is proud to provide its Endocrinology and Diabetes Education office for those with prediabetes, gestational diabetes or Type 1, 2, 3 or 3c diabetes. Our two endocrinologists, diabetes educator and on-site clinical pharmacist are dedicated to helping you manage your symptoms and lifestyle changes and to answer any questions you may have regarding medication and devices.

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, it can be controlled. There are many factors to consider. From diet, medication and education, our team helps you achieve the best possible outcomes, helping people with diabetes live long and healthy lives.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to properly use and store glucose, a form of sugar, so that it builds up in the bloodstream. Over time, high blood sugar can cause damage to nerves and blood vessels and can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputations.

There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body makes little or no insulin, a hormone which helps the body change blood sugar into energy. Individuals with this type of diabetes must take daily insulin injections to survive. This form of diabetes usually develops in children or young adults, though it can occur at any age.

In Type 2 diabetes, the body makes large amounts of insulin but does not use it properly. Most people with diabetes have this form of the disease, which typically occurs in people over age 40 who are overweight and have a family history of diabetes.

Who’s at risk

Anyone can get diabetes. However, people who have close relatives with the disease are more likely to develop it. The risk of developing diabetes also increases with age. Other factors that increase your risk for diabetes include:

  • Having higher than normal blood sugar
  • Being overweight
  • Having an Alaska Native, American Indian, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American; or Pacific Islander family background
  • Having had gestational diabetes, or giving birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Having high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or higher)
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Being inactive (exercising fewer than three times a week)
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS (women only)
  • Having certain conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as acanthosis nigricans
  • A history of cardiovascular disease

How do you know if you have diabetes?

Often, there are no visible signs or symptoms of diabetes. Symptoms can also be so mild that they are hard to notice. Signs to look for include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urination (especially at night)
  • Weight loss that cannot be explained
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections, especially of the skin, gums, or bladder
  • Skin infections or sores that do not heal
  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

Can you prevent diabetes?

You can do a lot to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Studies show that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or controlled by losing weight, exercising 30 minutes five or more days a week, and eating healthier.

Should you be tested?

Diabetes is a serious disease. If left untreated, serious complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage and even death can occur. That’s why anyone 45 years old or older should consider getting tested for diabetes. If you are 45 or older and overweight, testing is strongly recommended. If you are younger than 45, overweight, and have one or more of the risk factors, you should consider getting tested. Talk to your doctor about your risk of developing diabetes and about getting testing.

The following tests are typically used for diagnosis:

  • A fasting plasma glucose test measures your blood glucose after you have gone at least eight hours without eating.
  • An oral glucose tolerance test measures your blood glucose after you have gone at least eight hours without eating and two hours after you drink a thick, sweet beverage that contains large amounts of glucose and other sugars.
  • A random plasma glucose test measures your blood glucose without regard to when you ate your last meal.
  • Positive test results should be confirmed by repeating the fasting plasma glucose test or the oral glucose tolerance test on a different day.

Treating diabetes

The goal of diabetes management is to keep blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as close to the normal range as safely possible. In some people, diet and exercise can keep diabetes under control. When diet and exercise aren’t effective, a physician may prescribe diabetes pills or insulin. The treatment prescribed depends on the type and severity of the disease, the person’s age, and lifestyle. There is no known cure for diabetes. Diabetics must continue daily treatments throughout his or her lifetime.

How the Endocrinology and Diabetes Education office can help

Cookeville Regional’s Endocrinology and Diabetes Education office offers education programs that teach self-management skills to patients with diabetes and their families. Diabetes often requires patients to make changes in both their lifestyle and their diet. Our endocrinologists, diabetes educator and clinical pharmacist work to make that transition easier by teaching patients how to care for themselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Contact Us

Cookeville Regional Endocrinology and Diabetes Education

Endocrinology and Diabetes Education Office

127 N. Oak Ave, Suite A
Cookeville, TN 38501

Meet the Experts

Shanti Pittampalli, MD

Shanti Pittampalli, MD


Cookeville Regional Endocrinology and Diabetes Education

Sharisha Vallepu, MD

Shirisha Vallepu, MD


Cookeville Regional Endocrinology and Diabetes Education


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