What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is now an increasingly common lifestyle disease. It has emerged as a major healthcare problem in India and worldwide. Although it doesn’t have to be fatal directly, it can lead to devastating complications if not identified and treated early.
Diabetes mellitus, often referred to simply as diabetes, is a condition in which the blood has increased sugar levels as a result of decreased production of insulin by pancreas or the insensitivity of the pancreas to raised sugar levels. Insulin enables cells to absorb glucose in order to turn it into energy. In diabetes, the body either fails to properly respond to its own insulin, does not make enough insulin, or both. This causes glucose to accumulate in the blood, often leading to various complications which in turn cause multiple organ failures in the long run. This reduces the healthy lifespan.
What are the types of diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes.
Type 1 most often occurs before age 30 but may strike at any age. Type 1 can be caused by a genetic disorder. The pancreas produces very little or no insulin at all. Here the mainstay of treatment is insulin only.
Usually manifests after the age of 40 years. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin; however, either their pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot utilise the insulin adequately. It is controlled by a healthy diet, medication and regular exercise.
Then there is Gestational diabetes which is found only during pregnancy. Treatment should be preferably insulin rather than tablets. This type of diabetes normally gets normal after delivery. However, they are more prone to be diabetic in future.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Diabetes makes your unwell. You may experience
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue or general weakness
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores or wounds
- Aches and pains on the body and joints
What are the risks of Diabetes?
If diabetes is not adequately controlled the patient has a significantly higher risk of developing complications which affect most of the organs of the body.
- Eye / visual disturbances
- Heart problems
- Kidney failure
- Foot complications, skin complications, hypertension, mental problems
- Hearing loss
- Gum disease
- Erectile dysfunction
- Infection / Delay in healing of wounds
What are the causes of diabetes?
Family history, central obesity, physical inactivity and sedentary living, insulin resistance, urbanisation, stress, unknown causes.
Controlling Diabetes – Treatment is Effective and Important
Patients with type 1 are treated with regular insulin injections as well as a special diet and exercise.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes are usually treated with tablets, exercise and a special diet, but sometimes insulin injections are also required.
What should my blood glucose level be?
Before Meals – less than 110
After meals – less than 135
If you find your sugar level abnormal, visit our Diabetes clinic. If detected early, you may be able to control the sugar level just with regular exercise and diet control.
In short, early detection and prompt treatment can give you health and longevity.