One in every 11 adults has diabetes, according to a study published in the IDF Diabetes Atlas. The highest numbers can be found in the Pacific Islands of Tokelau and Nauru where more than 30% of the adult population has diabetes. It is indeed a shocking news that the number of diabetic patients has almost quadrupled. To start with it, diabetes mellitus is a long-term condition that causes people to suffer from high blood sugar level. In a study given in the Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, it is estimated that over 382 million people all over the world are suffering from diabetes. In this, 10% of all cases fall into the type 1 diabetes category and rest of them are suffering from the type 2 diabetic condition.
In this article, we will be talking about diabetes, its types, symptoms and its preventive measures and a lot more. It is important to educate yourself about this disease and its treatment because it has become the 8th leading cause of death, according to WHO (World Health Organization) resulting in more than 1.5 million deaths every year. Diabetes is found all around the world, but it is seen more common in developed countries. The reasons behind that could be many from living a sedentary lifestyle to doing less physically demanding work. Other than that, taking foods that are high energy-dense but very poor in nutrients also contribute to the risk of developing diabetes.
Your body breaks down most of what you eat into glucose. Glucose, a form of sugar, is a vital source to provide your body and cells with the energy and growth. When your food is digested, the glucose makes its way to enter your bloodstream. For this, the pancreas, a hormone, automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin because, without this, the cells cannot take in the glucose. With insulin being released, glucose, present in your blood, move into your cells and ensures blood-glucose levels drop. Diabetes happens when the blood glucose level increases.
This condition is known as hyperglycemia and in this, the pancreas either is not producing enough insulin or the body is not using insulin well. Due to this, the glucose stays in the blood which, over time when builds up, causes one to suffer from a serious health problem. Weak eyesight, kidney problem, nerve disorder, heart disease, stroke, to name some of the problems which happen due to the too much of glucose present in the blood. The excess blood glucose or its buildup passes out of the body in urine. That means, even after having an enough of glucose in the body, the cells won’t be able to get it. Thus, cutting back the source of essential energy and growth requirements.
Classifying Diabetes further:
Type 1 : Diabetes Here, in this case, the body does not produce an adequate amount of insulin. One can also refer this condition as insulin-dependent but medically, it is called Juvenile diabetes or early-onset diabetes. Most of the people develop this type of diabetes either after crossing the age of 40 or often in early adulthood. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded study titled “Diabetes in Youth” found around 23% of people under the age of 20 are suffering from this type. In this situation, one is dependent on the insulin injections for the rest of their life. Carrying out regular blood tests and following a special diet to normalize blood-glucose level will be must for those having this condition. Till now, there has been no cure to treat this type of diabetes apart from getting insulin injections.
Type 2 : Diabetes Approximately 90% of all cases show type 2 diabetes, worldwide. In this condition, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body do not react to insulin very well. No wonder, it is also referred to as insulin resistance.It is a progressive disease; if not considered healthy diet and exercise, it may gradually get worse so much so that one may end up having taking insulin tablet. It has been found that those who have a healthy body weight have a less risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who happen to be overweight and obese. Overweight body causes the body to release chemicals that can weaken the body’s metabolic and cardiovascular systems. Through the combination of healthy diet and medication, most of the people have managed to get rid of their symptoms.
Gestational diabetes : It mainly affects females during their pregnancy. In this condition, some women’s body tends to produce high levels of glucose. However, their bodies are unable to transport all of the glucose into the cells due to not producing enough insulin. This causes the levels of glucose to increase and puts the child at the risk. It has been seen that some women are able to control this diabetic condition with healthy diet and exercise because if left undiagnosed, the baby may be bigger than she/he should be. Do you wonder what could be a cause behind it? Scientists from the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University have the answer to this question. It has been studied that those women whose diets were high in animal fat and cholesterol, before becoming pregnant had a higher risk for this type of diabetes compared to their counterparts that are having a balanced diet.
Prediabetes : In this situation, the blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be categorized into diabetes. However, the chances of getting type-2 diabetes are higher in this case if not curbed on time by making lifestyle changes. There are no set of symptoms which could indicate that one may have Prediabetes but in some cases, it is been found out some people start to develop a dark skin on some parts of the body. To rule this out, it is recommended that one should go for glucose screening. If you are a woman, you need to do this test otherwise this condition can further aggravate into polycystic ovary syndrome.
Common symptoms of diabetes; irrespective of type
How can you tell if you have diabetes?
Well, one might experience the following changes in their body. It should be noted these following symptoms develop rapidly in type 1 diabetes condition and could be subtle in type.
- Polyuria (frequent urination)
- Excessive hunger (polyphagia)
- Fatigue or feeling tired all the time
- Intense thirst (polydipsia)
- Weight gain or unusual weight loss
- Cuts and bruises that do not heal
- Sometimes numbness and tingling in hands and feet
How can one know whether they are diabetic or not?
Following are the tests which will be done by a doctor to determine which type of diabetes you may have:
1. The A1C Test
- If it is 6.5% then it means diabetic
- Between 5.7% and 5.99% would be considered as prediabetes.
- To be normal, this should be below 5.7%
2. The FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test
- Above 126 mg/dl means diabetes
- If it is between 100 mg/dl and 125.99 mg/dl, then it means prediabetes
- If it is less than 100 mg/dl, then one can be relaxed that it is normal.
- An abnormal reading could indicate that the patient has impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
3. The OGTT (Oral glucose tolerance test)
- If it is 200 mg/dl, then it means diabetes
- Between 140 and 199.9 would indicate prediabetes
- Less than 140 mg/dl would mean normal
Abnormal reading after this test would mean the patient is suffering from the Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) If diabetes is not controlled, one has a chance of developing following complications:
- Eyes: Cataract, retinopathy and glaucoma
- Skin: Skin infections and disorders
- Mental health: Diabetes makes the person more susceptible to suffer from depression and other mental disorders
- Gastroparesis: It affects the normal movement of stomach muscles.
- Nephropathy: kidney disease or damage
- Peripheral arterial disease: Tingling and pain in the leg while walking
- Apart from the above, the person may come across hearing and gum disease complication
Do you know Americans spend $322 billion a year to treat diabetes?
That’s a lot! And when so many people are going for either weight loss programs or getting insulin injections to control diabetes, not many are talking about curing diabetes which one can do all by himself and combine it with medications. Below one will find the cure to stay out of the insulin resistance. But again, it is important to discuss the following points with the doctor since everybody function differently. Most of the people try to curb their hunger pangs by snacking harder? It is time to say bye to it. Instead of snacking harder, eat something far more satisfying Like Avocado, for instance. Many would argue that one should go on a low-fat diet, but it is the fat which will make one feel full until their next meal. At the same time, it is recommended to take the high-fat low-carb diet. Avocado protects our fat due to zero trans-fat in it, thus improving the circulation of nutrients. This fruit is proven to make us feel full for the longer period of time due to its ability to coat the inside of our intestine which blocks other food from being absorbed.
Thus, reducing the size of our meal. If one is suffering from diabetes, it is important to consume healthy fats. In this case, one can start using olive oil and butter (in a limited amount) to increase the healthy fat content during our meals. If one is having a hard time to control their sugar cravings, there is a way one can cheat with their meals. Take coffee and tea with a bit of cream but make sure don’t add sugar and other sweeteners in it. The real cause of diabetes, type 1 and type 2 has to do with obesity that causes insulin resistance. To get out of it, it is important to maintain 12 hours between the dinner and breakfast.
Reduce the habit of drinking carbonated drinks. In the journal Diabetologia, researchers have found that soft drinks are loaded with artificial sugars that contribute to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Preventive measures tips one can inculcate in their daily life to control diabetes.Diabetic patients have a higher risk of getting cardiovascular disease. So, to cut back the chances, it is important to monitor blood pressure and cholesterol level regularly. To further protect the cardiovascular health, try to stop doing smoking due to the serious effect it can have on the body. A note for men who are about to hit 30, make sure you check your testosterone level. Researchers from Scotland have found out in their studies that men with low testosterone have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you are unable to get your weight and blood sugar in normal level via diet, go for surgery. If your body doesn’t seem to benefit from the good nutrition, exercise, and medication, one must opt for the surgery to maintain the normal blood sugar levels. For those suffering from the type 1 diabetes, the pancreas transplant is recommended. Apart from this, weight loss surgery can be an effective measure.
Summing up ---
From the above, it wouldn’t be wrong to classify diabetes as a metabolism disorder as it affects the way our body uses digested food for energy and growth. However, there are many ways now through which one can normalize their diabetic condition. Exercising daily, trying to control weight, sticking to a meal by adding low glycemic index foods, are few tips through which one can control this condition and keeping blood glucose level within acceptable bounds. In addition, monitoring the blood glucose level and taking prescribed medicine will further boost the results. Do not try to follow any medication if you have this condition rather if it is the case, speaking with your healthcare provider will always work.