Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which occurs when pancreas are not producing enough insulin or the body not responding properly to the insulin produced. Diabetes is characterized by high level of blood glucose or blood sugar. Insulin is a hormone that is required to transfer glucose energy from blood to different cells and thus stays in the blood. Over time, high glucose levels can cause health problems.
Types of diabetes
There three main types of diabetes: Type-1, Type-2 and Gestational Diabetes.
The condition where the body does not produce insulin is typical of Type-1 Diabetes. The immune system attacks the cells in pancreas that produce insulin. Type-1 diabetes is generally seen in children and young adults.
The condition where the body does not use insulin well is typical of Type-2 diabetes. This type predominantly occurs in middle-aged and old people.
Some pregnant women have difficulty in producing and using insulin and thus the blood sugar levels stay high – this condition is called Gestational diabetes. Usually, after childbirth the blood sugar levels return to normal.
Diabetes is quite common these days. Some of the people affected don’t even know that they have diabetes. Those aged 45 years and above need to periodically monitor their blood sugar levels to identify the onset of diabetes. Those with less physical activity are also prone to be affected by type-2 diabetes.
Prediabetes is a state where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not very high. Those with prediabetes conditions are more likely to subsequently develop type-2 diabetes.
Typical symptoms of diabetes are:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling thirsty
- Feeling hungry
- Blurred vision
- Sudden weight loss
- Wounds heal very slowly
Some people with diabetes do not notice these symptoms until they undergo clinical tests at the advice of medical practitioners.
Since diabetes is associated with elevated blood sugar levels. It is preferable to keep sugar intake as less as possible. Overweight people are advised to go for weight reducing diet. As a general rule, diabetes needs to be treated with overall well being by adhering to the following
- Eat food that is fresh, high in nutrition, containing lean protein, low fat dairy & healthy fat
- Avoid high sugar foods having empty calories such as colas, fried dishes and high sugar desserts
- Avoid excessive smoking and drinking
- Going through physical exercises such as walking, cycling, aerobics or swimming for at least 5 days per week
- Regular monitoring of the blood glucose levels
- Keeping a check on the Body Mass Index
Some people may have to use Insulin to keep the blood sugar levels in control. However, it should be administered as per the advice of doctors in order to avoid conditions of low sugar due to excess dosage. Over the counter glucometers are available to keep track of blood sugar levels.
While diabetes itself can be manageable it severely impacts the day to day activities. Some of the complications arising due to diabetes are: heart diseases, stroke, problems of the kidney, eye, dental, nerves and feet.
See related post about healthy heart.