Diabetes is a broad term for a condition that causes the body’s blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease; it occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to offset the body’s level of insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. At first, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for the resistance, but over time the pancreas often isn’t able to sustain normal blood glucose levels. The treatment for type 2 diabetes varies depending on age, severity, medical history, and even personal preferences, but it can include physical activity and weight loss, nutritional changes, and either oral or injected medications and/or insulin.

With type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Previously known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes usually is diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can develop at any age. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. Those with type 1 diabetes generally must take daily insulin injections and regularly monitor blood sugar levels.

Another form of diabetes, called gestational diabetes, sometimes occurs during pregnancy, usually during week 20-24, in women who didn’t have diabetes before. It may require varying degrees of treatment and/or lifestyle and dietary changes similar to what is indicated for type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes gradually goes away after delivery, and if it does not, it may be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is not a simple disease to treat. It affects numerous systems throughout the body, and patients and their families can spend weeks arranging appointments with specialists, visiting clinics, and undergoing tests. UAB Medicine’s Multidisciplinary Comprehensive Diabetes Clinic (MCDC) helps change that. It offers the expertise and compassion of UAB Medicine’s top specialists in a single location, and you can see an endocrinologist and a registered dietitian/certified diabetes educator in a single visit. Appointments with other specialists are available as needed.

Located in The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, the MCDC is an arm of the UAB Medicine Comprehensive Diabetes Center, which is recognized by the National Institutes of Health as one of only a handful of diabetes research and training centers in the country. The knowledge gained from our clinical trials and cutting-edge research is rapidly integrated into the clinical practice, so patients benefit from the latest treatments for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In addition, UAB Medicine created the Advanced Limb Preservation program, which is dedicated to preserving maximum function in the lower limbs and preventing amputation in people with diabetes and certain other diseases.

UAB Medicine operates an Outpatient Diabetes & Nutrition Education Clinic for individuals with diabetes, pre-diabetes, and related conditions. Located in The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, the clinic is staffed by registered and licensed dietitians and certified diabetes educators who are experts in their fields. They conduct interactive group classes as well as individualized appointments. Education and instruction on insulin administration and using an insulin pump also are available. Our services are provided for patients age 18 and up, and interpreters are available for those who do not speak English.

In addition to helping with diabetes, we can educate and assist you in managing a variety of other conditions and medical issues, including:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Obesity/morbid obesity
  • Hypertension/high blood pressure
  • Hyperlipidemia/high cholesterol
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Celiac disease
  • Weight management (gaining or losing)
  • Assistance with tube feeding or IV nutrition
  • Nutrition evaluations to improve health

Care Providers


Fernando Ovalle, MD | Comprehensive Diabetes Care at UAB
Fernando Ovalle, MD | Comprehensive Diabetes Care at UAB
Heart & Vascular | Diabetes and Your Feet
Heart & Vascular | Diabetes and Your Feet

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