With diabetes such an epidemic in recent times, it is important you know exactly what diabetes condition is and the facts. Why? Well, how to prevent getting diabetes yourself. In this article, you will learn the simple and important quick guide and facts to help you as a diabetic.
The danger of diabetes is that while the disease is not immediately life-threatening the long-term effects of high blood sugar can be damaging to your health.
Uncontrolled diabetes and prolonged high blood sugar levels can cause problems to many organs in your body such as kidneys, eyes, nerves, and the heart.
However, controlling blood sugar by a combination of medicine, diet and exercise will vastly reduce the long-term complications.
Recent studies show that in a population 2 in 100 people have diabetes condition. Alarmingly, half of these people do not even know they have diabetes.
A high number of people have diabetes conditions without knowing about it because someone with diabetes looks no different from anyone else.
What is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus is also called diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. When blood sugar is very high and uncontrolled it can result in long-term damage, failure, and dysfunction of your organs such as; the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys.
What are the types of Diabetes Mellitus?
Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than it should be but not high enough for your doctor to diagnose diabetes.
Do you know that more than a third of people in the United States have diabetes, but a majority of them are not aware of it?
Prediabetes can predispose you more likely to get type 2 diabetes and heart disease. You can lower these risks by losing some weight if you are obsessed with exercising to lose extra pounds of your body weight
2. Type 1 diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes occurs from autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic beta cells, causing the loss of insulin production.
This type of diabetes usually affects children, although it occurs at all ages and the clinical features can vary with age. A person with this type of diabetes requires insulin to live.
3. Type 2 diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes is also known as non-insulin diabetes or adult-onset diabetes. It occurs when there are insulin resistance and abnormal insulin secretion, either of which may predominate but both of which are usually present.
The main reasons for the onset of these abnormalities are largely unknown. Type 2 is the most prevalent type of diabetes.
When you have Type 2 diabetes the symptoms may not show for many years, and the diagnosis is often made from related complications or incidentally through abnormal blood or urine glucose test.
Although Type2 diabetes is much milder than Type 1, it still causes serious health problems and complications such as heart disease, stroke, eye, kidney failures.
You can also have a high risk of Type 2 diabetes if you are obsessed and this can lead to more health issues.
4. Gestational diabetes mellitus:
Nearly seven percent of all pregnancies are complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus. Gestational diabetes can be termed as any degree of sugar intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy.
Sugar intolerance is considered whether insulin or only diet modification is used for treatment and if the condition continues after pregnancy.
However, there is also a possibility that unrecognized sugar intolerance may have occurred or started along with the pregnancy.
5. Impaired glucose tolerance:
Impaired glucose tolerance does not present with symptoms. This type of diabetes diagnosis is confirmed by a high non-diabetic level of blood glucose two hours after a 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test.
Impaired fasting glycemia is a high non-diabetic fasting blood glucose level. Both Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Impaired Fasting Glucose are transitional stages in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Other specific types of diabetes include; those caused due to genetic disorders, infections, exocrine pancreas disease, and drugs.
What are the differences between Type1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?
Type 1 Diabetes Facts:
Individuals with Type 1 diabetes require insulin injections, often 2 to 4 times a day, to provide the body with the insulin it does not produce.
The amount of insulin needed varies from individual and may be influenced by factors such as a person’s level of physical activity, diet, and the presence of other health conditions.
Typically, individuals with Type 1 diabetes use a glucometer several times a day to measure their blood sugar level, this helps to know whether there is a need to adjust the amount of insulin injected, physical exercise, or food intake to maintain the blood sugar at a normal level.
If you are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes you must carefully control your diets by distributing meals and snacks throughout the day so as not to overwhelm the ability of the insulin supply that helps cells absorb glucose. You also need to eat foods that contain complex sugars, which break down slowly and cause a slower rise in blood sugar levels.
Type 2 Diabetes Facts:
People with Type 2 diabetes often start treatment with diet control, exercise, and weight reduction. However, this treatment may not be adequate with time.
You typically will have to work with your nutritionists if you are diagnosed with diabetes Type 2 to formulate a diet plan that regulates blood sugar levels so that they do not rise too quickly after a meal.
A recommended meal is usually low in fat (30% or less of total calories), provides moderate protein (10 to 20% of total calories), and contains a variety of carbohydrates such as beans, vegetables, and grains.
Regular exercise helps your body cells absorb glucose, even ten minutes of exercise daily can be effective.
Diet control and exercise may also play a role in weight reduction, which tend to partially reverse the body’s inability to use insulin
How to know if you have Diabetes Mellitus
Common Symptoms of Diabetes
A normal blood sugar level is generally between 72 and 126 mg/dl or 4 and 7 mmol/l (where 1 mmol/l = 18mg/dl).
If the body is unable to keep the blood sugar level within these limits, then diabetes is diagnosed.
Diagnosis of diabetes can occur out of the blue during a routine check-up but more often it follows from the sufferer experiencing the symptoms of diabetes. These symptoms can be many or few, mild or severe depending on the individual.
Below are common symptoms of diabetes:
- Weight Loss: Glucose is the form of sugar your body uses as its main fuel. If you are Diabetics, your body cannot process this properly so it passes into the urine and is excreted out of the body.
Less fuel makes the body’s reserve tissues break down easily to produce energy with a resultant loss in weight.
- Excessive Thirst: More often it seems no matter how much you drink your mouth still feels dry. The problem is compounded before diabetes is diagnosed as most diabetes sufferers drink huge quantities of sugary drinks. Unfortunately, this only increases the blood sugar level and leads to increased thirst.
- Urinating More Frequently: Diabetes sufferers often experience a need to urinate more frequently and pass large volumes of urine each time.
In addition, this symptom takes no account of time so your sleep is constantly disturbed by having to visit the bathroom especially during the night.
Quite a majority of people think this symptom is caused by increased thirst and drinking more. However, when the amount of sugar in your blood is high, it spills over into the urine making it syrupy, to counter this effect water is drawn from your body causing dehydration and therefore thirst.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms it does not necessarily mean that you are diabetic. However, it might be advisable to consult your doctor immediately to be sure.
How is Diabetes Diagnosed?
Diabetes may be diagnosed using one of these two tests; Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) or blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association has using A1C as a diagnostic measure for diabetes because it does not require fasting and can be carried at any time of the day.
Hemoglobin is a protein that is only present in the red blood cells, it carries oxygen to the whole body. The red blood cells have an average life span of three months, throughout this period the sugar molecules attach to the hemoglobin.
This sugar molecule attaches to hemoglobin based on the prevailing blood sugar levels.
The hemoglobin A1C test is a measure of the sugar attached to the hemoglobin over three months.
Table 1. Classification of diabetes according to A1C blood sugar level
|Less than 5.7%||Normal|
|Between 5.7 % and 6.4%||Prediabetes|
|6.5% and greater||Diabetes|
This is another type of test to diagnose diabetes. It is also called blood sugar or plasma test. A blood sugar test is done using a fasting blood sugar test or an oral glucose tolerance test.
Before a fasting blood sugar test is done, you are required to have no calorie intake for at least eight hours. The amount of sugar in the blood is measured using a blood sample. A result with value greater than 7.0mmol/L (or 126mg/dL) is considered diabetic.
The A1C test is more preferred over the fasting blood sugar test and oral glucose tolerance test for diabetes diagnosis because the procedure is simple and convenient.
Table 2: Diagnostic criteria for diabetes
|Fasting blood sugar||> 7.0mmol/L||> 126mg/dL|
|2hours blood glucose||> 11.1mmol/L||> 200mg/Dl during Oral glucose tolerance test|
|Symptoms of hyperglycemia and random blood sugar||> 11.1mmol/L||> 200mg/dL|
|A1C||> 6.5%||> 48mmol/mol|
What are the Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
There are huge differences between diabetic and non-diabetic sufferers in the prevalence of some risk factors for diabetes and its complications especially obesity.
Recent research studies show that increasing occurrences of diabetes can be attributed greatly to lifestyle changes leading to reduced physical activity, increased calorie intake, and subsequent weight gain. Other risk factors include;
- Age and Ethnicity
- Family History of Diabetes
- Physical inactivity
Complications of Diabetes
The severity of diabetes is largely a result of its associated complications, which can be serious, disabling, and even fatal.
1. Acute Complications of Diabetes
The three main metabolic complications of diabetes are:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis,
- Hyperosmolar nonketotic coma,
2. Chronic Complications of Diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
Can Diabetes Mellitus be reversed?
Basically, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have opposite features; Type 1 diabetes is characterized by very low insulin levels and the other (Type 2 diabetes) is characterized by very high insulin.
Interestingly, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have a similar standard of treatment models. Both types of diabetes primarily target blood sugar, with the aim of lowering it by increasing insulin.
Insulin helps Type 1 diabetes because the underlying cause of the disease is a lack of naturally occurring insulin in the body.
However, in Type 2 diabetes the underlying cause is insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is virtually untreated due to a lack of clear agreement to its cause. Without an adequate understanding of this, there isn’t a hope of reversing it.
However, it may appear discouraging but the rewards are as well attractive towards a cure for type 2 diabetes.
Do not panic if it does turn out that you have diabetes. A diabetes diagnosis can come as a shock and it will require making some changes in your lifestyle habits such as diet, weight, and exercise.
Taking quick action to treat your diabetes can help you prevent or eliminate the long-term complications of diabetes resulting from high and uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
By knowing exactly what diabetes is and recognizing the symptoms early, you can prevent it from ever building up within you. Start today by monitoring your health and daily eating habits. Or as they say, preventing is better than finding a cure later on.
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