Diabetes Guide and Facts for a Diabetic

Is diabetes taking a toll on your mental health? Learn the facts about diabetes to guide you on how to prevent or manage the condition. In recent years, diabetes has become an epidemic, it is important you know exactly what diabetes condition is and the facts. Why? you may ask, well, it’s important you know how to prevent getting diabetes yourself. Diabetes is considered dangerous because it’s not immediately life-threatening, but the long-term effects of high blood sugar can be damaging to your health. In this article, you will learn the simple and important diabetes guide and facts to help you manage high blood sugar and prevent complications.

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Uncontrolled diabetes and prolonged high blood sugar levels can cause problems for many organs in your body such as kidneys, eyes, nerves, and the heart. However, controlling blood sugar with a combination of medicine, diet and exercise will vastly reduce long-term complications. Recent studies show that 2 in 100 people in a population have diabetes condition. Alarmingly, half of these people do not even know they have diabetes. A high number of people have diabetes without knowing about it because someone with diabetes looks no different from anyone else.

Diabetes mellitus, 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 extremely 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?

  1. Prediabetes

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 many 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 overweight by exercising to lose extra pounds of your body weight.

  1. Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs when there is a loss of insulin production resulting from the autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic beta cells. 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.

  1. Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is also known as non-insulin diabetes or adult-onset diabetes. It occurs when there is 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 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 through abnormal blood or urine glucose test.  Type2 diabetes is much milder than Type 1, but it still causes serious health problems and complications such as heart disease, stroke, eye, and kidney failure. You can also have a substantial risk of Type 2 diabetes if you are overweight, and this can lead to more health issues.

  1. Gestational diabetes mellitus

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.

  1. Impaired glucose tolerance

Impaired fasting glycemia is a high non-diabetic fasting blood glucose level. 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.  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 Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?

Type 1 Diabetes Facts

A person with Type 1 diabetes requires insulin injections 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 to 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 check their blood sugar levels. Frequent checking of the blood sugar level 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 will find a diabetes guide and fact handbook helpful to help you know how to carefully control your diet by distributing meals and snacks throughout the day so as not to overwhelm the ability of the insulin supply that helps cells in your body 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 tends 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 between 72 and 126 mg/dl or 4 and 7 mmol/l (where 1 mmol/l = 18mg/dl). If your body is unable to keep the blood sugar level within these limits, then diabetes is diagnosed. Diagnosis of diabetes can occur unexpectedly 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.diabetes- symptoms of diabetes

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 and most 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 used A1C as a diagnostic measure for diabetes because it does not require fasting and can be carried out at any time of the day.

1. HbA1c

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

A1C CLASSIFICATION
Less than 5.7% Normal
Between 5.7 % and 6.4% Prediabetes
6.5% and greater Diabetes

2. Blood Glucose

This is another type of test to diagnose diabetes. It is also called the 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 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 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
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity

What are the 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,
  • Hyperglycemia
  1. Chronic Complications of Diabetes

  • Cataract
  • Retinopathy
  • Neuropathy
  • Nephropathy
  • Macroangiopathy
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy

Can Diabetes Mellitus be reversed?

diabetes-can diabetes 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 remarkably high insulin. Interestingly, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have a similar standard of treatment models. Both types of diabetes treatment 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 with 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 for a cure for type 2 diabetes.

Wrapping Up

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 the disease condition can help you prevent or eliminate the long-term complications of diabetes resulting from high and uncontrolled blood sugar levels. These diabetes guide and facts help you to know exactly what diabetes is and by 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, prevention is better than finding a cure later.

diabetes guide and facts

References

  1. Schmidt AM. Highlighting Diabetes Mellitus: The Epidemic Continues. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2018;38(1):e1-e8.
  2. Kanter JE, Bornfeldt KE. Impact of Diabetes Mellitus. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016;36(6):1049-1053.
  3. American Diabetes Association. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2013;36 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S67-S74.
  4. Kautzky-Willer A, Harreiter J, Pacini G. Sex and Gender Differences in Risk, Pathophysiology and Complications of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Endocr Rev. 2016;37(3):278-316.
  5. Lehrke M, Marx N. Diabetes Mellitus and Heart Failure. Am J Cardiol. 2017;120(1S):S37-S47.
  6. Szmuilowicz ED, Josefson JL, Metzger BE. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2019;48(3):479-493.

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