Diabetes is a serious medical condition that affects over 170 million people in the world. Perhaps you or someone close has recently been diagnosed and you wish to find out more. Maybe you worry you may have the disease yourself.
Diabetes is a long-term disease where the body has trouble regulating blood sugar levels. Normally, blood sugar controlled by insulin, a hormone created by the pancreas. Insulin takes glucose (sugar) from your blood and takes it to cells to use for energy. With diabetes, either the pancreas does not produce enough (or any) insulin, or the insulin produced does not work.
Type 1 or Type 2?
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is where the body fails to produce any insulin. This is treated with daily insulin injections and a healthy diet and lifestyle. This type usually appears before 40, often in young teenage years. Type 2 is where the body fails to produce enough insulin, or the body is resistant to it, and so it doesn’t work effectively. This type appears past 40, although it is becoming much more common in young people. It is treated with exercise and healthy eating, although sometimes tablets or insulin injections are necessary.
Causes of Diabetes
The likelihood of developing either type 1 or type 2 diabetes is determined partially by genetics. A particular genetic defect makes an individual slightly more susceptible to develop type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, there is a stronger inheritance link with type 2 diabetes. If one or more members of your family have type 2 diabetes, you are at risk yourself. Those who are overweight and have high blood pressure are also more likely to get type 2 diabetes, and over 80% of those diagnosed with type 2 are overweight.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 85% of all diabetes cases. If you are over 40 years old, or over 25 and of black, Asian, or Hispanic ethnicity, and with a family history of diabetes or obese, then you should probably get screened as a preventative measure – it is estimated around 20% of diabetes cases go undiagnosed. Early diagnosis greatly reduces the chances of developing serious health complications, so if in doubt contact your doctor for screening. If the above applies to you, or if you experience the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor:
-frequent urination (especially at night)
-slow healing wounds
-very dry skin
There is no known cure for diabetes, but the disease easily manageable. The core aim is to maintain normal blood glucose levels, and also cholesterol and blood pressure. Achieved through insulin injections, eating sensibly, and living a healthy lifestyle. A diabetic can still eat all kinds of food, just in moderation. Cutting down on sugars, fat, and salt is a good idea, as it eating plenty of carbohydrates, fruit, and vegetables – essentially a balanced diet. It is also vital to eat healthy and exercise to reduce the risks of any long-term complications.
Highs and Lows
If blood sugar levels get too high or too low, it can be dangerous. Too high and hyperglycemia occurs, which can lead to coma and death. Too low and hypoglycemia sets in, where the person can lose consciousness and require medical attention.
As a diabetic, or a family member or a friend of a diabetic, you will need to be aware of the signs of too high or low blood sugar levels. Signs of low blood sugar include hunger, shakiness, dizziness, confusion, sweating. Signs of high blood sugar include extreme thirst, fatigue, confusion, hallucinations, and high very blood sugar levels.
When feeling low, you will need to test your blood sugar levels and eat something sugary to compensate, if necessary. You should always carry some sugary sweets or glucose tablets for this reason. Conversely, if you experience high blood sugar levels often, you will need to speak to your doctor to adjust your diet and insulin dosage, and to check for more serious issues.
Unfortunately, having diabetes does bring with it an increased risk of developing long-term damage to your eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves. Fortunately, if you live a healthy life, then you can reduce the chance of to a minimum.
There is no need to feel too down – people with diabetes lead full, active lives, just like everybody else, they just need to think more about their eating habits and their lifestyle. As a diabetic, you will need to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and be sensible in your lifestyle choices. That means eating sensibly and regularly getting exercise.
Ask today about a full body checkup; your doctor will discuss a suitable personal plan that will improve your health. Request an Appointment today.