As learnt, India is the Diabetes capital of the world and more than 30 million people in India have Diabetes. Diabetes can be managed with proper knowledge, lifestyle alterations and proper medication.
We at The Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology help our patients to understand Diabetes and its effects in order to manage it well.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes Mellitus is a condition where the amount of glucose in blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. It is a chronic disease in which body cannot make or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps control the sugar or glucose in your blood. This increased level of glucose can lead to number of complications if untreated, like heart and kidney diseases, increased risk of stroke and may result in blindness as well.
Types of Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes: Insulin Dependent Diabetes is usually first diagnosed in children or teenagers. With this form of diabetes, beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin. Patient has to take either external insulin in the form of Insulin injections or Insulin pumps.
Type 2 Diabetes: It is the most common form of diabetes. People can develop Type 2 diabetes at any age- even during childhood. This form of diabetes usually occurs in adults and is associated with an increased insulin resistance. The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases with increase in obesity. Physical inactivity, westernization, junk food, etc. are the major risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes: It develops in 5% of all pregnancies but usually disappears when the pregnancy is over. Women who have had GD have a predisposition to Type 2 Diabetes at later stages of life.
Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes
Patient can have the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Increased thirst
- Unintended weight loss
- Slow healing ulcers
- Feeling of hunger and tiredness
- Genital itching or regular episodes of UTI
- General feeling of ageing
- Habitual physical inactivity
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Gestational Diabetes
Pre Diabetes means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre diabetes are at an increases risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and stroke. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, you can delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disease that can lead to complications if not controlled on time. Every 1% rise in HbA1c leads to an increased complication. Various complications can be:
- Coronary Heart Disease leading to heart attack
- Cerebrovascular Disease leading to stroke
- Retinopathy, disease of the eye leading to blindness
- Nephropathy, disease of the kidney leading to kidney failure and need for dialysis
- Neuropathy, disease of the nerves leading conditions like ulceration of the foot requiring amputation and also Stomach Nerve Damage (Gastroparesis)
Tests for Diabetes
Because Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, anyone who is 45 years of age or older should consider getting tested. If you are 45 years or older and overweight; getting tested is strongly recommended. If you are younger than 45 years, overweight and have one or more risk factors; you should consult your doctor for getting tested.
The main aim of managing diabetes is to achieve blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as near as possible. Good control of blood glucose requires:
- Eat Well: Following a meal plan that is right for you
- Physical Activity: Getting regular physical activity
- Medication: Taking diabetes medicines every day, if prescribed by your doctor
- Diabetes Counseling: through structured Diabetes education
- Checking blood glucose as recommended