Diabetes Diagnosis and Treatment

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

The diabetes specialists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have the knowledge and experience to accurately diagnose, treat, and manage all forms of diabetes.

Diagnosing Diabetes

A blood glucose level higher than 125 mg/dL may indicate diabetes. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor performs a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, which measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to the hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen throughout the body on red blood cells. The higher the blood sugar level, the more blood sugar is attached to the hemoglobin.

An A1C level of 6.5 or higher indicates diabetes. An A1C level of 5.7 to 6.4 is considered prediabetes.

Diabetes Treatment

Type 1 diabetes requires:

  • A lifelong commitment to taking insulin and monitoring the blood sugar as instructed
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthful diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables

Insulin can be taken orally or by injection. Doctors might prescribe additional medications to help control blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can be managed and even prevented but not cured.

A management plan includes:

  • Eating well
  • Exercising
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

If diet and exercise aren't enough, doctors may prescribe insulin or other medications to help control blood glucose levels.

Diabetes and Weight Management

The most effective treatment for Type 2 diabetes is weight loss. UT Southwestern’s Weight Wellness Program offers patients who are overweight or obese the most advanced treatments available for weight management. Our interdisciplinary group, led by board-certified endocrinology physicians specializing in nonsurgical weight management and bariatric care, includes a team of nurse practitioners, registered dietitians, a licensed psychologist, and registered nurses.

However, losing weight can be very difficult for extremely overweight patients. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery often can help these individuals.

There are many kinds of bariatric surgery, and the surgery isn’t a magical weight loss cure-all. Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery need nutritional counseling and lifelong lifestyle changes to lose weight and keep it off.

Bariatric surgery is a major life decision. Patients who need to lose a significant amount of weight to manage their diabetes should discuss all options with their doctor.