What is Diabetes ?
Diabetes is the chronic metabolic disorder which occurs when your body unable to processes the glucose ( blood sugar ), In this case blood sugar level becomes too high. This condition occurs when the body unable to use insulin or not enough insulin produced by pancreas. The main source of energy for the blood cells is blood glucose. Insulin is the hormone, produced by pancreas which helps in absorption of glucose from the food and transfer it to the cells, which can be used as energy.
When the pancreas unable to function properly, the body is not able to produce enough insulin. As a result, glucose will keep storing in the bloodstream and not able to enter the cells. This is the main cause of high blood sugar level. This can lead to varieties of diseases such as heart disease, stroke and can cause damaged to eyes, nerves and kidneys as well.
What are the various types of diabetes that exist?
Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes, are three main types of diabetes :
Type 1 diabetes
In this type of diabetes, pancreas unable to produced hormones ( insulin ). This is also known as autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroy all the cells in pancreas that helps in the production of insulin. People with type 1 diabetes needs daily injections to maintain their blood sugar level. It mainly occurs in early adulthood.
Type 2 diabetes
In this type of diabetes, your body is not able to use or produce insulin. This type usually occurs when your pancreas unable to produce enough insulin or your body not able to use insulin. As result, glucose will keep storing in the bloodstream and unable to enter the cells for energy production. Type 2 diabetes can be occur at any age, but in most cases it appears to occur in middle age. Due to the sedentary lifestyle and rising state of obesity, it’s becoming more common in Childers and adolescents.
This type of diabetes usually happens in some women’s during pregnancy. In this case hormones are produced by placenta which make it harder for the body to use insulin. Gestational disease goes away after baby takes birth. But there are high chance developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
What signs and symptoms can indicate the presence of diabetes in an individual?
The symptoms of diabetes may depend on different type of diabetes. Here are some common symptoms :
Blurred vision : High blood sugar levels can be result in blurred vision. This occurs due to the presence of excess amount of glucose in the blood, which can cause changes in the shape of lens in your eyes and affects its ability to focus light properly on the retina. If not managed properly, it can permanent, vision loss.
Frequent Urination : The body of diabetes people can’t produce enough insulin ( in type 1 diabetes ) and can’t use insulin ( in type 2 diabetes ), which results in storing of glucose in blood stream and can lead to have high blood sugar level. The only way with which the excess glucose can be removed from the body is through urination. So, our body tries to remove excess glucose from the blood stream by producing more urine. That’s why it is recommended for people with diabetes to drink more water.
Extreme hunger : When the body doesn’t produce or unable to use insulin to convert glucose into energy, our body can lead to feeling of fatigue and weakness. In response, our body start crave more carbohydrate and sugary foods in order to get energy. But eating more food may lead to increase in blood sugar level. So, it’s very important for diabetic people to perform daily exercise, meditation and follow a proper balanced diet to manage their blood sugar level.
Skin infection : People with diabetes are more likely susceptible to skin infections because high blood sugar level can weaken their immune system. Excess glucose in the blood may imbalance the normal functioning of immune system, as result it can lead to damage of blood vessels. When the immune system is weak, the skin becomes less effective to fight at fighting off bacteria and many other skin infections. These skin infections take long time to heal and some are very difficult to to treat.
Increased thirst : As we know that urination is the way to remove excess amount of stored glucose from the blood in the form of fluid. With this way your body loss more water and becomes dehydrated, which can make you feel more thirty.
Slow healing : High blood sugar level can damage our nerves and blood vessels, due to which the supply of oxygen and nutrients to site of wounds is not done properly. This is why the process of healing can slow down in the people with diabetes, which can cause wounds to take longer to heal.
Numbness : High blood sugar level can damage our nerves, due to which the supply of oxygen and nutrients is not done properly, leading to nerve damage over long time. This can make it difficult to send signals to the brain, which can cause tinging, numbness or burning sensation in the hands and feet.
Fatigue : Glucose is the main source of energy in the body, when your body is not able to use to properly to convert into energy, it make you feel more tired due to lack of energy.
Pre-diabetes is the metabolic condition in which the blood sugar level of an individual is higher than the normal blood sugar, but not high enough to be called as type 2 diabetes. But people with pre-diabetes are having great risk of developing type 2 diabetes and many other health problems such as heart disease, skin infection and stroke etc if not cure at pre-diabetes stage.
Some risk factors of pre diabetes include blurred vision, overweight, liver damage, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and many more.
It is very important to have regular blood sugar level checkup if you have any risk factor, because pre diabetes have no symptoms. If not treated properly, pre diabetes can result in development of type 2 diabetes.
But pre diabetes can be cured through lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy and balanced diet, daily exercise and losing weight etc. In some cases medication is the only way to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So, Its very important to manage pre diabetes before developing type 2 diabetes.
What factors can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 is a type of condition in which your pancreas unable to produce insulin or in some cases your body is not able to use insulin. So, glucose started storing in bloodstreams and results in raise of blood sugar level. This type of diabetes can be occur due to variety of factors such as age, lifestyle and genetics.
Some factors that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes :
Overweight : Overweight can result in developing risk of type 2 diabetes, especially fat stored around waistline. Excess fat around abdominal area lead to insulin resistance, which results in developing type 2 diabetes. Due to insulin resistance body’s cell which is a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar level become less effective. When the insulin resistance become less effective, glucose started storing in the bloodstreams, which results increase in blood sugar level.
Gestational diabetes : Women with gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In this case hormones are produced by placenta which make it harder for the body to use insulin. Gestational disease goes away after baby takes birth, but leaves high chance developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Sedentary lifestyle : Lack of exercises can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes because when insulin not able to convert glucose into energy, it starts storing into the blood stream. Due to lack of physical activities it remains unchanged and results increase in blood sugar level.
Family history : Type 2 diabetes can be genetical, Your parents or sibling having type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing it yourself.
Age : As you get older the risk of type 2 diabetes increases, especially in the middle age maybe after the age of 45. It occurs because our organs become weak, due to which production of glucose decrease and insulin also become less effective. Also, due to lack of physical activities older adults more likely to obese, which is high risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
What are the risks or complications associated with diabetes?
Kidney Damage : High blood sugar can damage kidney. When pancreas not able to produce insulin or your body is not able to use insulin, glucose started storing in bloodstreams and the function of filtering waste products from the blood is done by kidneys. Load on the functioning of kidney increased due to continues storing of glucose, which results in kidney damage.
Hearing impairment : High blood sugar level can damage our nerves and vessels, including those in ears. After some time ( if not treated ), it can lead to development of condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Due to this condition there are high chance of hearing loss.
Skin conditions : People with diabetes are more likely susceptible to skin infections because high blood sugar level can weaken their immune system. Excess glucose in the blood may imbalance the normal functioning of immune system, as result it can lead to damage of blood vessels. When the immune system is weak, the skin becomes less effective to fight at fighting off bacteria and many other skin infections. These skin infections take long time to heal and some are very difficult to to treat.
Cardiovascular disease : Diabetes can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke. This is because high blood sugar damage our nerves and vessels over a period of time, including those that supply blood to the heart.
Eye damage : High blood sugar levels can be result in blurred vision. This occurs due to the presence of excess amount of glucose in the blood, which can cause changes in the shape of lens in your eyes and affects its ability to focus light properly on the retina. If not managed properly, it can permanent, vision loss.
Foot problems : Due to the poor circulation of oxygen and damage of blood vessels, people with diabetes are more likely to prone with foot infections and sometimes it lead to the verse condition.
Nerve damage : Continues storing of glucose in blood can damage the nerves, which can cause pain, numbness in feet and hands.
Gum disease : As we know that high blood sugar level can weaken our immune system, which make the body hard to fight off certain infections, including gum infection. Due to the gum disease, teeth become weak and start falling.
How is diabetes detected and identified in a person?
Blood test is usually used to diagnosed diabetes that measures the amount of glucose present in blood. Here are some different types of tests used to diagnosed diabetes,
1.) Fasting Plasma Glucose : This test is measure empty stomach, means should not eat or drink anything except water at least 8 hours before test. That’s why most of these types of test measures in the morning, after night fast. ( FPG ) is one of the most common test used to diagnosed diabetes.
2.) Oral Glucose Tolerance : This test is measure after drinking sugary drink which contains approx 75 gm of glucose. To prepare for this test, you have to take fast at least 8 hours before test. After 8 hours fasting, when you arrive at lab they will take your blood sample for the test and provide you a sugary drink. Then after 2 hours another test will be done. So, this is the method of testing diabetes known as ( OGTT ).
3.) Random Plasma Glucose : This test can be done at any time, regardless of whether or not you have eat recently. As ( FPG ) and ( OGT ) test, which requires alt least 8 hours of fasting before the test, but ( RPG ) can be done at any time.
4.) Glycated hemoglobin : This test is measure by assuming the average of blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months.
How is diabetes treated and controlled?
Diet : People with diabetes should be aware of what they are eating, they should eat a proper balanced diet that will help them to manage their diabetes.
1. Carbohydrates have great impact on blood glucose level, so people with diabetes should count their carbs intake before eating anything.
2. People with diabetes should eat healthy and balanced diet that includes variety fruits, vegetables and lean protein such as tofu and fish etc.
3. Choose food having low glycemic index, as glycemic index is the measure of rise in blood glucose level. So, eating food with low glycemic index will help to prevent rise in blood glucose level.
4. Be aware of portion size, eating too much food can result rise in blood glucose level.
5. Saturated and trans fats can increase the risk of hear propblems, avoid foods containing these types of fats such as fried foods, processed snacks etc.
Exercise : Physical activities are very beneficial for people with diabetes. Performing exercises helps to convert stored glucose into energy, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, helps in weigh management and also helps to maintain normal blood sugar level. It is recommended to perform at least 200 min of cardio exercises , in addition to strength training.
Medication : The treatment of diabetes depends on individual’s health and the type of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, in which body is not able to produce insulin, then insulin injections are needed for lowering the blood sugar level. In type 2 diabetes, in which body unable to use insulin are treated with oral medications such as metformin.
Monitoring The Blood Sugar Level : People with diabetes should regularly check their blood sugar level to ensure it remain within their target. It can be done with a regular blood sugar check meter.
Education : Healthcare providers should educate people with diabetes that how they could manage their condition and improve their overall quality of life.
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