A general observation will let you know that there isn’t any family that is not affected by diabetes. Almost every family (either on the maternal or paternal side) might have some cases. According to the World Health Organization, there are around 422 million people across the globe having diabetes. Yes, you are not alone.
So, what is Diabetes?
It is a chronic metabolic disease that causes high blood glucose (blood sugar) levels in your body.
What is blood glucose?
Glucose is important for our health because it is a major source of energy for all our cells. It is this energy from the glucose that our brain utilizes (almost half of all the energy from glucose in the body). However, the glucose level in our body has to be in moderation – since both high and low levels of glucose create problems.
So, what are the Normal Blood Sugar Levels?
Fasting: The range of Normal blood sugar level is 70-99mg/dl
Normal blood sugar level 2 hrs after a meal – Less than 140mg/dl.
If your blood sugar level is below normal levels i.e., you have a low blood sugar level in the blood, then you have Hypoglycemia.
If your blood sugar level is above normal levels i.e., you have a high blood sugar level in the blood, then you have Hyperglycemia.
However, in case of high blood sugar, insulin can be used.
What is Insulin? Why It is Important to Manage Glucose Levels?
Insulin is a hormone released from the pancreas and it plays an important role in managing glucose levels in the blood. Insulin is basically a gatekeeper of your cells, and helps cells to absorb the sugar from the blood. So, if the pancreas does not make enough Insulin or stops making insulin and glucose (sugar) level increases in the blood.
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
Symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the rise in blood glucose level. A prediabetic person may not show any symptoms.
Common symptoms seen in Diabetic patients are:
- Excessive Thirst
- Frequent Urination
- Slow healing of wounds
- Weight loss.
What are the Types of Diabetes? What are their Causes?
TYPE 1 Diabetes – Type 1 occurs as an autoimmune reaction in which your body attacks its own cells. So, the cells of the pancreas which produce insulin are destroyed – leaving your body with little or no insulin.
TYPE 2 Diabetes – In type 2 diabetes your pancreas produces less insulin than required or your cells become resistant to the action of insulin. Thus, blood glucose level increases.
Type 2 diabetes can be seen more in Overweight people (belly fat). Other factors are physical inactiveness, junk foods, PCOS, High alcohol intake, and Abnormal cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Gestational Diabetes: During pregnancy, some hormones are produced which sometimes makes your cells resistant to insulin as a result glucose level increases in blood during pregnancy called gestational diabetes.
What is Diabetes? What are the Complications Associated with Diabetes?
If Diabetes is not managed properly there is a high risk of complications that may be life-threatening. Some of the complications are:
Cardiovascular disease – Diabetes increases the chances of heart attack, angina pain, stroke, etc.
Neuropathy – Diabetes damages smaller blood vessels that nourish nerves. This causes tingling, numbness, burning, or pain, especially in the legs. If left untreated can lead to loss of sensation in the affected leg. In men, the health condition may also lead to Erectile dysfunction.
Kidney damage – It may damage the kidney leading to kidney failure.
Eye Damage – Diabetes may damage the blood vessel of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), leading to blindness. Can cause glaucoma, and cataracts.
Alzheimer’s disease – Type 2 diabetes patients are at high risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (Source)
Depression – Depression is a common symptom of this health condition.
Management of Diabetes: How Do You Prevent Diabetes?
Right now, there is no known way to prevent Type 1 diabetes but research and studies are going on.
However, type 2 diabetes can be prevented in the following ways (Reference and Source):
Consuming Healthy foods – Eating Healthy foods that are high in fibre. Proper diet
Regular Exercise – Maintain an active lifestyle, about 30 min of mild to moderate exercise.
Reducing belly fat – do Exercise which helps to reduce belly fat.
Quitting – Smoking and drinking alcohol
Keeping a check on Vitamin D levels – Vit D is important for the management of blood sugar.
Drinking – Green tea, coffee, or tea (without sugar) helps to reduce the risk.