Diabetes is Not a Death Sentence

Together with ADC, people can live normal lives even with diabetes.

Over 400 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the disease causes over 1 million deaths every year. The disease also damages the body, amplifying other health concerns and is a secondary cause for even more deaths. It also causes blindness and amputations – it’s a very serious disease which, as of yet, has no cure.

But, there is some good news.

When managed properly, people with diabetes can lead long and productive lives. The Endocrinology Department at ADC deals daily with people managing the disease. Today, let’s learn more about the disease and what is necessary to manage it.

How Diabetes Affects the Body


After eating, carbohydrates in food are broken down into sugars to be carried throughout the body via the bloodstream. The body uses those sugars as energy for regular, daily function. The condition of diabetes disrupts this cycle – creating severe, damaging imbalances in blood sugar levels. There are two ways this imbalance occurs.

In Type I Diabetes, the body’s immune system damages the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin. The body’s naturally-produced insulin can no longer aid in breaking down blood sugars. With the body is incapable of producing enough of its own insulin, Type I Diabetes is treated with injections of an insulin replacement.

The second type, Type II Diabetes, is a more common form and is also a progressive form of the disease. This form of diabetes causes insulin resistance over time. The body still produces insulin, but has difficulty utilizing it effectively. There are various medications in pill form to treat Type II Diabetes. As a result of the nature of Type II diabetes, however, the pancreas often wears out due to late detection of the disease or from years of medication. At that point, insulin replacement by injection is – again – necessary.

When caught early, diabetes can easily be treated. The longer someone lives undiagnosed, the worse their health outcome is likely to be. Patients should visit their doctor every three to six months so that the efficacy of their treatment can be re-evaluated.

Good glucose control is essential to prevent the onset of diabetic complications that can can lead to blindness, heart attack or stroke, dialysis, and amputation. But with proper self-care and medical expertise people with diabetes can avoid these complications.

4 Ways To Effectively Manage Diabetes Symptoms

1. Exercise


If diagnosed, one of the best things a person can do for themselves is to exercise on a regular basis. Guidelines recommend a daily exercise regimen for at least 45 minutes that is initiated slowly and built up gradually to avoid injury and to build stamina. Clearance from a physician is imperative for any patient before starting an exercise regimen.

Every person that is overweight significantly increases their chances of contracting diabetes. The Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic has a patient education specialist to assist you in the care and management of diabetes through diet and exercise.

2. Check Your Blood Sugar

People living with this disease check their blood sugar levels regularly with a home glucose monitor. A physician or diabetic educator will prescribe a routine and frequency that best suits a patient’s needs. Most recommend checks before breakfast and before supper.

Not only is checking levels necessary for day-to-day health but recording those numbers daily is another necessary step. At doctor visits, a physician will need those readings to understand the full scope of how the patient is managing their disease.

3. Periodic Checks


Glycohemoglobin: This is a test developed for information about average blood sugar level over the course of two or three months. These checks may occur two to four times a year – varying between patients. The American Diabetes Association recommends that the patient’s diabetic regimen achieves a glycohemoglobin level of less than 7%. Any contributing risk factor for vascular disease should be aggressively assessed and treated.

Cholesterol, triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure, and smoking would all be considered factors of risk.

Some medications used to treat elevated blood pressure also have a protective effect in preventing kidney complications of diabetes. Any medication prescribed by a physician should be taken only as directed. Before adding or deleting any medication – including over the counter medications. Patients should consult their doctor about any changes to their prescriptions.

Microalbumin: This urine test is performed yearly to evaluate the likelihood of diabetic kidney involvement.

Ophthalmologist: A visit should be scheduled annually as well. The doctor can evaluate any diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, or other conditions and plan treatment accordingly.

Finally, patients should have an annual comprehensive medical exam – including a treadmill exercise test. Underlying coronary artery disease is often more common in an individual with diabetes and needs early intervention.

4. Sick Days

Living with this disease means that some days are simply going to be worse than others. We refer to them at ADC as “sick days” and they require special consideration. Anything a body perceives as stress has the ability increase blood sugar levels. This stress can be physical or emotional in nature. If a person with diabetes is ill their blood glucose will likely rise – even if they cannot eat.

Sick Day Best Practices for Diabetics

  • Stick to meal plans if able to eat.
  • Continue diabetes medication unless a physician says otherwise.
  • Check with a doctor before taking any new medication.
  • Drink at least one large glass of liquid each hour. If eating, these liquids should be sugar-free.
  • Take a blood sugar test every 4 hours.
  • It is recommended to have someone check on the ill person every few hours, in case the illness progresses.

If in doubt, consult a physician. Early and effective management of these sick days will reduce chances of falling into a diabetic coma.

It Will Be Okay


Taking steps to prevent and control diabetes doesn’t mean life is over. It means eating a tasty, balanced diet, exercising and taking the necessary steps to stay healthy. With these tips, anyone can still take pleasure in life – with diabetes – without feeling deprived.

The Endocrinologists at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic are thoroughly trained in the management of hormonal and metabolic disorders. Patient education services are available for patients in the care and management of these disorders. We also provide dietary counsel for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

We are here to help, please contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

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Colonoscopy – Frequently Asked Questions

Wandering about a Colonoscopy? Here are some questions that might help clear up any confusion you may have. Please feel free to contact ADC for more extensive details and information regarding Colon health and services that may be offered at ADC.

I know I am supposed to hold aspirin products for 5 days.  What are considered aspiring products?

Aspirin products include:  Advil, ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, naprosyn or any medications you take for arthritis (including iron).

What foods am I supposed to avoid 2 days prior to the procedure?

It is important that you stop eating high roughage foods such as lettuce, beans, cabbage, corn as well as any high fiber foods including whole wheat bread.  If you take fiber laxatives, you must also stop taking them 2 days prior to your procedure.

What foods are ok to eat?

It is ok to eat meat, potatoes, pastas, fruits, and white breads.

I know I am supposed to begin a clear liquid diet at breakfast on the day prior to the procedure, what is considered a clear liquid?

Clear liquids include all of the following:

Strained fruit juices (without the pulp)

Water

Clear broth or bouillon

Coffee or tea (without milk or non-dairy creamer)

Gatorade

Carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks

Kool-aid or other fruit flavored drinks

Plain jello (without fruit or toppings)

Ice popsicles

No red or purple fluids/liquids

No milk products or solids

Where is ADC Endoscopy Specialists located?

Our physical address is #1 Care Circle Drive.  Our facility is located inside Legacy Squares office park off of Amarillo Boulevard West between Coulter & Soncy.

A Conversation with Dr. Douglas Lewis

Douglas Lewis, D.O.

 Dr. Lewis has joined the Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic staff recently, adding experience to the group in the field of Neurology as well as his warm and comfortable personality. We sat down with him to talk about the move.

Here’s what he said:

Where did you practice before coming to ADC?

I was in private practice just up the street on 9th. It was a successful solo practice. I had a lot of wonderful patients. And now, I’m happy to continue their care at ADC.

Dynamics are different coming from a clinic. How has that been?

Dynamics are different. One of the reasons I decided to join the group was the other physicians along with the quality of care at this facility. It is a great group for sure.

We love Dr. Milligan. Because you are both Neurologists, are you looking forward to working with him? One thing about Dr. Milligan is his dry sense of humor…

Yes. He’s dryer than I am, I suspect. He’s great. A good guy.

How many years were you in private practice?

I was in private practice for eight years.

Where are you from?

I’m from Colorado Springs and attended high school there.

Where did you receive medical training?

I went to medical school at Des Moines University in Iowa. I did an internship in New Jersey and then my Neurology internship in Detroit where I also did a fellowship in Neuro-Physiology.  Once I finished my medical education, I came here and worked with a large physician group for about six years. After that, I went into private practice where I remained for the next eight years.  I’ve been in practice for about 14 years.  The years go by fast.

Do you visit Colorado often?

Yes, I do. I’m actually going in the near future. My high school buddies and I still get together every year and go camping for a weekend.

Where do you like to go?

We go all over. This year we’re going up near Steamboat, a long trip for me. But, it fits in okay.

Do you have family?

Yes. My wife is from the Amarillo region. I have two sons at home and a daughter who is currently attending Optometry School.

What are some hobbies you enjoy other than camping?

We like to ski, snowmobile, and other Winter activities.  We also enjoy water skiing in the Summer.

If you were opening up a keynote in front of millions of people, what’s something interesting you’d say?

Now, that would be hard. I am opening up a keynote this weekend at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I am a diabetic and have been on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation board for the last couple years. I am opening up the walk this weekend.  I don’t know what I will say but I am sure it will come to me before then.

Being a doctor, you are the source of information everyday, it’s a totally different mindset. What’s that like?

Sure. It’s been about everything I expected it to be. I like it.

Sleep Study Findings: Why Do We Sleep, Anyway?

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Hunger and Eating/Sleepiness and Sleep

A resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School


While we may not often think about why we sleep, most of us acknowledge at some level that sleep makes us feel better. We feel more alert, more energetic, happier, and better able to function following a good night of sleep. However, the fact that sleep makes us feel better and that going without sleep makes us feel worse only begins to explain why sleep might be necessary.

One way to think about the function of sleep is to compare it to another of our life-sustaining activities: eating. Hunger is a protective mechanism that has evolved to ensure that we consume the nutrients our bodies require to grow, repair tissues, and function properly. And although it is relatively easy to grasp the role that eating serves— given that it involves physically consuming the substances our bodies need—eating and sleeping are not as different as they might seem.
Both eating and sleeping are regulated by powerful internal drives. Going without food produces the uncomfortable sensation of hunger, while going without sleep makes us feel overwhelmingly sleepy. And just as eating relieves hunger and ensures that we obtain the nutrients we need, sleeping relieves sleepiness and ensures that we obtain the sleep we need. Still, the question remains: Why do we need sleep at all? Is there a single primary function of sleep, or does sleep serve many functions?

An Unanswerable Question?

Scientists have explored the question of why we sleep from many different angles. They have examined, for example, what happens when humans or other animals are deprived of sleep. In other studies, they have looked at sleep patterns in a variety of organisms to see if similarities or differences among species might reveal something about sleep’s functions. Yet, despite decades of research and many discoveries about other aspects of sleep, the question of why we sleep has been difficult to answer.
The lack of a clear answer to this challenging question does not mean that this research has been a waste of time. In fact, we now know much more about the function of sleep, and scientists have developed several promising theories to explain why we sleep. In light of the evidence they have gathered, it seems likely that no single theory will ever be proven correct. Instead, we may find that sleep is explained by two or more of these explanations. The hope is that by better understanding why we sleep, we will learn to respect sleep’s functions more and enjoy the health benefits it affords.

This essay outlines several current theories of why we sleep. To learn more about them, be sure to check out the “Bookshelf” feature at the end of this essay. There you’ll find links to articles by researchers who are studying this fascinating question.

Theories of Why We Sleep

Inactivity Theory

One of the earliest theories of sleep, sometimes called the adaptive or evolutionary theory, suggests that inactivity at night is an adaptation that served a survival function by keeping organisms out of harm’s way at times when they would be particularly vulnerable. The theory suggests that animals that were able to stay still and quiet during these periods of vulnerability had an advantage over other animals that remained active. These animals did not have accidents during activities in the dark, for example, and were not killed by predators. Through natural selection, this behavioral strategy presumably evolved to become what we now recognize as sleep.

A simple counter-argument to this theory is that it is always safer to remain conscious in order to be able to react to an emergency (even if lying still in the dark at night). Thus, there does not seem to be any advantage of being unconscious and asleep if safety is paramount.

Energy Conservation Theory

Although it may be less apparent to people living in societies in which food sources are plentiful, one of the strongest factors in natural selection is competition for and effective utilization of energy resources. The energy conservation theory suggests that the primary function of sleep is to reduce an individual’s energy demand and expenditure during part of the day or night, especially at times when it is least efficient to search for food.

Research has shown that energy metabolism is significantly reduced during sleep (by as much as 10 percent in humans and even more in other species). For example, both body temperature and caloric demand decrease during sleep, as compared to wakefulness. Such evidence supports the proposition that one of the primary functions of sleep is to help organisms conserve their energy resources. Many scientists consider this theory to be related to, and part of, the inactivity theory.

Restorative Theories

Another explanation for why we sleep is based on the long-held belief that sleep in some way serves to “restore” what is lost in the body while we are awake. Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself. In recent years, these ideas have gained support from empirical evidence collected in human and animal studies. The most striking of these is that animals deprived entirely of sleep lose all immune function and die in just a matter of weeks. This is further supported by findings that many of the major restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, andgrowth hormone release occur mostly, or in some cases only, during sleep.

Other rejuvenating aspects of sleep are specific to the brain andcognitive function. For example, while we are awake, neurons in the brain produce adenosine, a by-product of the cells’ activities. The build-up of adenosine in the brain is thought to be one factor that leads to our perception of being tired. (Incidentally, this feeling is counteracted by the use of caffeine, which blocks the actions of adenosine in the brain and keeps us alert.) Scientists think that this build-up of adenosine during wakefulness may promote the “drive to sleep.” As long as we are awake, adenosine accumulates and remains high. During sleep, the body has a chance to clear adenosine from the system, and, as a result, we feel more alert when we wake.

Brain Plasticity Theory

One of the most recent and compelling explanations for why we sleep is based on findings that sleep is correlated to changes in the structure and organization of the brain. This phenomenon, known as brain plasticity, is not entirely understood, but its connection to sleep has several critical implications. It is becoming clear, for example, that sleep plays a critical role in brain development in infants and young children. Infants spend about 13 to 14 hours per day sleeping, and about half of that time is spent in REM sleep, the stage in which most dreams occur. A link between sleep and brain plasticity is becoming clear in adults as well. This is seen in the effect that sleep and sleep deprivation have on people’s ability to learn and perform a variety of tasks.

This theory and the role of sleep in learning are covered in greater detail in Sleep, Learning, and Memory.
Although these theories remain unproven, science has made tremendous strides in discovering what happens during sleep and what mechanisms in the body control the cycles of sleep and wakefulness that help define our lives. While this research does not directly answer the question, “Why do we sleep?” it does set the stage for putting that question in a new context and generating new knowledge about this essential part of life.

For more about why we sleep, watch the video Why Sleep Matters and explore Consequences of Insufficient Sleep.


Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is the only Sleep Center in the Panhandle area accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Give us a call at 806-358-0200 to set up your sleep study.

Neurologists at ADC

Dr. Milligan demonstrates a Nerve Conduction Study at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic. Watch:

A few reasons to see a Nuerologist. You suffer from:

  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Dimensia
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Epilepsy
  • And others

Meet more of our wonderful providers like Dr. Milligan.