Diabetes Specialist

Dr. Tashko is a renowned diabetes specialist located in Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland. With a distinguished career spanning over two decades, he has established himself as a leading expert in the field of diabetes care and management. Dr. Tashko is widely recognized for his compassionate approach to patient care, providing personalized treatment plans that encompass the latest medical advancements and holistic strategies. His commitment to staying updated with cutting-edge research and techniques ensures that his patients receive the highest quality care tailored to their individual needs. Known for his effective communication skills, Dr. Tashko fosters a collaborative relationship with his patients, empowering them to actively participate in their diabetes management journey. His clinic in Rockville stands as a beacon of excellence, offering comprehensive care that addresses the multifaceted aspects of diabetes, promoting overall well-being and improved quality of life for his patients in Montgomery County and beyond.
Dr. Tashko is a renowned diabetes specialist located in Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland. With a distinguished career spanning over two decades, he has established himself as a leading expert in the field of diabetes care and management. Dr. Tashko is widely recognized for his compassionate approach to patient care, providing personalized treatment plans that encompass the latest medical advancements and holistic strategies. His commitment to staying updated with cutting-edge research and techniques ensures that his patients receive the highest quality care tailored to their individual needs. Known for his effective communication skills, Dr. Tashko fosters a collaborative relationship with his patients, empowering them to actively participate in their diabetes management journey. His clinic in Rockville stands as a beacon of excellence, offering comprehensive care that addresses the multifaceted aspects of diabetes, promoting overall well-being and improved quality of life for his patients in Montgomery County and beyond.
Dr. Tashko is a renowned diabetes specialist located in Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland. With a distinguished career spanning over two decades, he has established himself as a leading expert in the field of diabetes care and management. Dr. Tashko is widely recognized for his compassionate approach to patient care, providing personalized treatment plans that encompass the latest medical advancements and holistic strategies. His commitment to staying updated with cutting-edge research and techniques ensures that his patients receive the highest quality care tailored to their individual needs. Known for his effective communication skills, Dr. Tashko fosters a collaborative relationship with his patients, empowering them to actively participate in their diabetes management journey. His clinic in Rockville stands as a beacon of excellence, offering comprehensive care that addresses the multifaceted aspects of diabetes, promoting overall well-being and improved quality of life for his patients in Montgomery County and beyond.

Introduction – Diabetes Specialist in Montgomery County, Maryland

As a diabetes specialist based in Montgomery County, Maryland, I am dedicated to providing expert care to those dealing with diabetes in my community. My practice, located in Rockville, offers both virtual and in-person services, reaching individuals in nearby areas such as Chevy Chase, Bethesda, North Bethesda, Potomac, North Potomac, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Frederick, Silver Spring, Northern Virginia, and Western Maryland for comprehensive support.

With a mission to enhance patients’ quality of life, my practice focuses on offering personalized therapies and evidence-based strategies to manage this prevalent and often misunderstood condition.

Physiological Role of Glucose, Insulin, and Glucagon

Glucose, insulin, and glucagon play pivotal roles in maintaining the delicate balance of blood sugar levels in the human body. Glucose, derived from the foods we consume, fuels our cells and provides energy. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, facilitates the uptake of glucose into cells, thus regulating blood sugar. Conversely, glucagon stimulates the release of stored glucose when levels drop, preventing dangerous lows.

Glucose

Glucose is the primary source of energy for cells in the body. It comes from the digestion of carbohydrates in the diet and is released into the bloodstream after meals. Blood glucose levels need to be carefully regulated to avoid both excessively high levels (hyperglycemia) and excessively low levels (hypoglycemia), as both can be harmful.

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas in response to rising blood glucose levels after a meal. Its main role is to facilitate the uptake of glucose into cells, particularly muscle and adipose (fat) cells. Insulin achieves this by binding to receptors on the cell surface, which triggers a series of molecular events that allow glucose to enter the cell. Once inside, glucose can be used for energy or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for later use. Insulin also suppresses the liver’s production of glucose, reducing the amount of glucose released into the bloodstream.

Glucagon

Glucagon is another hormone produced by the alpha cells of the pancreas. It is released when blood glucose levels are low, typically between meals or during fasting. Glucagon’s primary role is to stimulate the liver to break down glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. This process is known as glycogenolysis. Additionally, glucagon can promote the production of new glucose from non-carbohydrate sources, a process called gluconeogenesis. The increased release of glucose into the bloodstream helps raise blood sugar levels to provide energy for the body’s needs.

Definition, Prevalence, and Consequences of Untreated Diabetes

Diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder, occurs when the body struggles to regulate blood sugar due to insufficient insulin production or improper utilization. Globally, over 529 million individuals grapple with diabetes, with nearly 1 in 10 Americans affected. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to a host of complications, including kidney dysfunction, nerve damage, eye problems, and an elevated risk of heart disease and stroke.

Types of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus presents in several forms, each with distinct characteristics. Type 1 diabetes, typically diagnosed in childhood, results from the immune system attacking insulin-producing cells. Type 2 diabetes, more common among adults, stems from insulin resistance and lifestyle factors. Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women, while prediabetes warns of elevated blood sugar levels. Additionally, rare forms like monogenic and secondary diabetes highlight the complexity of this condition. Below is a further breakdown of the diabetes types:

1. Type 1 Diabetes

Impacting roughly 5-10% of diabetes cases, type 1 diabetes is categorized as an autoimmune disorder, where the immune system mistakenly targets and damages the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, there’s a shortage of insulin production, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. Typically identified during childhood or adolescence, type 1 diabetes requires ongoing insulin therapy to regulate blood sugar levels. When left untreated or managed inadequately, it can give rise to immediate issues like diabetic ketoacidosis, as well as long-term complications such as heart disease, kidney problems, nerve issues, and vision difficulties.

2. Type 2 Diabetes

Representing the most common form of diabetes, type 2 diabetes affects about 8-10% of the global population. It’s characterized by insulin resistance, where the body’s cells don’t respond well to insulin, coupled with a gradual decline in insulin production over time. It usually arises in adulthood and is closely linked with lifestyle factors such as obesity, lack of physical activity, and poor diet. Managing the condition involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments, oral or injectable medications, and, sometimes, insulin therapy. If blood sugar levels aren’t adequately controlled, there’s a potential for complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, nerve damage, and eye complications.

3. Gestational Diabetes

Occurring in approximately 7% of pregnancies, gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy when the body struggles to produce enough insulin to meet the increased demands. Typically emerging in the second or third trimester, this condition usually resolves after childbirth. However, poorly managed gestational diabetes can pose risks for both the mother and the baby, including higher birth weight and birth complications. It also increases the likelihood of the mother developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Treatment involves monitoring blood sugar levels, making dietary adjustments, and sometimes incorporating insulin therapy.

4. LADA (Type 1.5 Diabetes)

LADA, or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, is a diabetes variant that shares characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It develops in adulthood, often after the age of 30, and progresses more slowly than classic type 1 diabetes. Like type 1 diabetes, LADA involves an autoimmune response that damages beta cells, but its onset may initially resemble that of type 2 diabetes due to its gradual nature. Treatment often begins with oral medications but may progress to insulin therapy as the condition advances.

5. Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY)

MODY is a rare, inherited form of diabetes caused by specific genetic mutations, , such as GCK (glucokinase) or HNF1A (hepatocyte nuclear factor 1-alpha). It typically presents in adolescence or young adulthood and is often mistaken for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. MODY leads to impaired insulin production, and treatment varies based on the specific genetic mutation involved. It may involve oral medications or insulin therapy to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications.

6. Secondary Diabetes

Secondary diabetes results from various medical conditions or factors that impact the pancreas or the body’s insulin response. These factors include specific medications such as glucocorticoids, antiretroviral and immunosuppressive drugs, as well as hormonal disorders like Cushing’s syndrome or acromegaly, and pancreatic diseases. The treatment approach focuses on managing the underlying condition while addressing blood sugar levels through lifestyle changes, diabetes medications, or insulin therapy.

7. Other Specific Types

Various genetic syndromes and rare conditions can lead to specific types of diabetes, such as Wolfram Syndrome and Mitochondrial Diabetes. These variations in diabetes differ widely in terms of prevalence, causes, consequences, and treatment approaches. Nevertheless, the central treatment goals remain the same: to manage blood sugar levels and prevent complications. Achieving effective management involves a combination of medication, lifestyle adjustments, regular monitoring, and personalized medical guidance based on the individual’s needs.

Diabetes Complications

Diabetes can pave the way for a plethora of complications, impacting both microvascular and macrovascular systems. Microvascular diseases encompass nephropathy (kidney damage), neuropathy (nerve damage), and retinopathy (eye damage). On a larger scale, macrovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke pose significant threats to individuals with diabetes. Below is a closer look at these complications

1. Nephropathy (Kidney Damage)

Diabetes-related nephropathy doesn’t typically cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. However, as the condition progresses, individuals may experience swelling in the ankles, legs, or face, along with increased fatigue. Kidney damage can lead to a decrease in the kidneys’ ability to filter waste and excess fluids, resulting in an accumulation of toxins in the body. This can eventually lead to kidney failure, necessitating dialysis or a kidney transplant. Managing blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and regular monitoring of kidney function through lab tests are vital in preventing or delaying the progression of nephropathy.

2. Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)

Neuropathy can manifest in different ways, such as peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and focal neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy often causes tingling, numbness, burning sensations, and pain in the extremities, especially the feet. Autonomic neuropathy affects the involuntary functions of the body, including digestion, heart rate, and blood pressure. Focal neuropathy can cause sudden weakness or pain in specific nerves, often resulting in muscle weakness. The risk of neuropathy can be minimized through tight blood sugar control, regular exercise, and proper foot care to prevent injuries and infections.

3. Ophthalmopathy (Eye Damage)

Diabetic retinopathy, a type of ophthalmopathy, has different stages—ranging from mild nonproliferative retinopathy to advanced proliferative retinopathy. During its early stages, there may be no symptoms. As the condition progresses, individuals may experience blurred vision, dark spots, or even vision loss. Managing blood sugar levels and undergoing regular eye exams are crucial in detecting retinopathy early, allowing for timely interventions such as laser treatment or surgery to prevent further deterioration of vision.

4. Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

The link between diabetes and periodontal disease is bidirectional—diabetes can make gum disease worse, and gum disease can affect blood sugar levels. Inflammation in the gums can lead to redness, swelling, bleeding, and even tooth loss. Advanced periodontal disease can have systemic effects, impacting overall health. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, can help prevent and manage gum disease.

5. Amputations

Peripheral neuropathy and poor circulation can create a dangerous combination for individuals with diabetes. Nerve damage can lead to loss of sensation in the feet, making it difficult to notice injuries or infections. Compromised circulation impairs the body’s ability to heal these injuries, increasing the risk of infections that could eventually require amputation. Practicing daily foot care, wearing appropriate footwear, and promptly addressing any foot issues are crucial in preventing such extreme outcomes.

6. Macrovascular Complications (Heart Disease and Stroke)

The connection between diabetes and macrovascular complications lies in the indirect impact of elevated blood sugar on the blood vessels and the heart. Atherosclerosis, the narrowing and hardening of arteries due to plaque buildup, can lead to heart disease and stroke. High blood sugar levels also contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress, further damaging blood vessels. Managing diabetes through lifestyle changes (such as a healthy diet and regular exercise) and medication can reduce the risk of these complications.

The above complications highlight the importance of managing diabetes through regular medical care, proper diet, exercise, and medication as prescribed by a diabetes specialist. Effective management can significantly reduce the risk and severity of these complications.

Importance of Preventing or Reversing Diabetes

Preventing or reversing diabetes is not only a matter of personal health but also holds great significance for society. Adopting healthier lifestyles can avert diabetes onset, saving lives and reducing the economic burden on healthcare systems. The long-term costs associated with diabetes management, from medications to hospitalizations, highlight the importance of proactive measures.

Standard Diabetes Testing and Monitoring

Standard diabetes testing involves a comprehensive assessment of various markers. The hemoglobin A1c test provides insight into average blood sugar levels over the past few months. Monitoring insulin levels, kidney function, and electrolyte balance aids in understanding the disease’s progression. For type 1 diabetes, autoimmune antibodies such as GAD are checked to determine the underlying cause.

Importance of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)

The advent of CGM systems like Libre and Dexcom has revolutionized diabetes management. These devices offer real-time data, enabling patients to monitor their glucose levels throughout the day. CGMs empower individuals to make informed decisions about their dietary choices, physical activity, and medication usage, leading to better glycemic control.

Lifestyle Changes as the Central Approach

Lifestyle modifications are fundamental to managing hyperglycemia and reversing diabetes. Encouraging a balanced diet that includes low glycemic index carbohydrates, lean proteins, and vegetables, along with regular exercise, can significantly enhance blood sugar control. Equally vital are stress management, sufficient sleep, and the avoidance of tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.

Key Medications for Diabetes Treatment

Medications are typically introduced when lifestyle adjustments prove inadequate or when hyperglycemia becomes notably severe. There is a range of medication classes used in the treatment of diabetes, each tailored to address distinct aspects of the condition. For example, Metformin enhances insulin sensitivity and diminishes glucose production in the liver. GLP-1 receptor agonists stimulate insulin secretion while suppressing glucagon. SGLT-2 inhibitors reduce blood sugar levels by enhancing glucose excretion via urine. Sulfonylureas elicit insulin release, and insulin, along with insulin pumps, directly regulate blood sugar. Further details about each medication are elaborated below.

1. Metformin

Metformin is an oral medication commonly prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. It is classified as a biguanide and works by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and increasing the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin, which helps lower blood sugar levels. Metformin also has other beneficial effects, such as promoting weight loss and improving cardiovascular health. It is usually taken with meals and is often the first-line medication for managing type 2 diabetes.

2. GLP-1 Receptor Agonists

GLP-1 (Glucagon-Like Peptide-1) receptor agonists are injectable or oral medications used to treat both type 2 diabetes and, in some cases, obesity. They mimic the action of the GLP-1 hormone, which stimulates insulin secretion and suppresses glucagon release. This leads to lower blood sugar levels and reduced appetite. GLP-1 receptor agonists are available in different formulations, including daily and weekly injections, and they can help control blood sugar, promote weight loss, and potentially provide cardiovascular benefits.

3. SGLT-2 Inhibitors

SGLT-2 (Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter-2) inhibitors are a class of oral medications used to treat type 2 diabetes. They work by blocking the reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys, leading to increased glucose excretion in the urine. This mechanism helps lower blood sugar levels. SGLT-2 inhibitors may also lead to modest weight loss and have been associated with potential cardiovascular and kidney benefits.

4. Sulfonylureas

Sulfonylureas are oral medications that stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin. They are often used to treat type 2 diabetes. Sulfonylureas work by closing potassium channels in beta cells, which triggers insulin secretion. However, these medications can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and weight gain. They are generally considered a second-line option after metformin, particularly for patients who are unable to tolerate or do not respond well to other medications.

5. Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels by facilitating the uptake of glucose into cells. People with type 1 diabetes and some with type 2 diabetes may require insulin therapy to manage their condition. Insulin can be administered through injections using syringes, pens, or insulin pumps.

6. Insulin Pump

An insulin pump is a medical device used to continuously deliver insulin to people with diabetes. The pump can be attached to the skin or worn externally, in which case it is connected to the body through a small tube or cannula. It provides a basal (background) level of insulin throughout the day and enables the user to administer additional doses of insulin before meals or in response to high blood sugar levels. Insulin pumps offer improved glucose control and greater flexibility compared to traditional injections, as they closely mimic the natural insulin secretion pattern.

Patient Follow Up

Long-term monitoring of diabetes patients entails a comprehensive approach. Regular evaluations of symptoms, comorbidities, glucose levels, and A1c measurements offer insights into disease progression and treatment efficacy. Adjustments to medication, diet, and lifestyle can be made based on this information, optimizing patient outcomes.

Summary

As a diabetes specialist in Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, I believe that my role goes beyond just treating patients. My aim is to educate, empower, and collaborate with individuals dealing with diabetes. By grasping the body’s complexities, promoting preventive approaches, harnessing advanced technologies, and advocating for positive lifestyle changes, we can collectively pave the way for a healthier, more resilient diabetes community.

Dr. Tashko

Dr. Tashko serves as a board-certified specialist in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism, located in Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland. With extensive training and expertise in these fields, Dr. Tashko plays a pivotal role in providing comprehensive medical care to patients grappling with endocrine disorders, diabetes, and metabolic conditions. Their dedication to staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in medical research and treatment options equips them to offer the highest standard of care. Patients who seek Dr. Tashko's expertise benefit from their in-depth understanding of the intricate hormonal systems regulating various bodily functions. Dr. Tashko works collaboratively with patients to diagnose, manage, and treat a diverse range of conditions, including thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, and diabetes complications. Their compassionate approach, coupled with their ability to explain complex medical concepts in simple terms, fosters a strong patient-doctor relationship. Dr. Tashko's practice goes beyond symptom management; they emphasize patient education and empowerment, enabling individuals to actively participate in their healthcare journey. By tailoring treatment plans to each patient's unique needs, lifestyle, and preferences, Dr. Tashko ensures a holistic and patient-centered approach to care. Their commitment to improving patients' quality of life and overall well-being is evident in their personalized and empathetic approach to medicine. In Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland, Dr. Tashko stands out as a respected endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism specialist who combines medical excellence with a patient-centric philosophy. Their unwavering dedication to advancing the field and delivering compassionate care cements their role as a trusted expert in the community.