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All You Need to Know About Diabetes

 

Overview

 

Diabetes is a chronic health condition in which your body cannot produce a chemical called insulin, or the insulin produced is insufficient, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. The world diabetic population is set to reach an epidemic level in the coming years. Although diabetes may further lead to several health complications, regular medication, exercise, and dietary changes can help you control it.

 

Are you worried that you may have elevated blood sugar levels and eventually develop diabetes? Here is your guide about diabetes, its types, diabetes symptoms, risks, preventive measures, treatment, and the facts associated with this much-dreaded health condition.

 

Introduction

 

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that impairs the sugar balance in your body. Since we all need sugar for energy, our body is equipped with pancreatic cells that secrete insulin. This chemical (hormone) is released in the presence of glucose. Insulin facilitates the uptake of sugar (glucose) into cells that convert it into energy. However, in diabetes, either the pancreatic cells fail to produce insulin, or the insulin cannot channel the glucose into body cells. As a result, blood sugar levels rise. Higher than normal blood sugar levels indicate diabetes.

 

Types of diabetes:

 

There are three types of diabetes. Let us understand these types and how they affect our bodies:

 

  1. Type-1: It is an uncommon condition that affects 5-10% of people, usually children, teens, and adults. In type-1 diabetes, your body will stop secreting insulin, and the symptoms appear quickly. Taking insulin helps to make up for the deficiency. Insulin is to be taken as an injection.

 

  1. Type-2: Earlier believed to be a late-onset condition, type-2 diabetes is recently diagnosed even in young adults. Almost 90-95% of people with diabetes have type-2 diabetes. In this condition, your body is not able to use insulin correctly. It has a gradual onset and can be controlled with anti-diabetic medication.

 

  1. Gestational diabetes: It occurs in women during pregnancy. Such women are at risk of developing type-2 diabetes in the later years.

 

Sometimes your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not as high as diabetes. Such a condition is known as pre-diabetes. Controlling pre-diabetes may help reverse it. The following diabetes symptoms may ring the warning bells:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Non-healing sores, ulcers
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness in the limbs
  • Sudden unintentional weight loss

 

Risk factors

 

You may be at high risk if you have:

  • Age above 40
  • Family history
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle

 

Prevention

 

Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, and hence it cannot be prevented. However, it is never too late to start. If you are at high risk, here are some tips to prevent type-2 diabetes:

  • Shed off the extra weight: Lose those extra kilograms by routine workout. Consult a trainer to do exercises that suit you.
  • Be physically active, and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Walk, take the stairs and not the lift.
  • Take aerobic or resistance exercises.
  • Watch what you eat:

Choose healthy home-cooked food.

Eat proteins and whole-grain foods.

Add leafy vegetables to your diet.

Binge on nuts, seeds, and fruits for snacks.

Consume healthy fats.

Prefer smaller portions.

 

Foods to avoid:

  • Trans-fat
  • Refined flour
  • Bakery items
  • Sweetened drinks
  • Fruit juices

 

Treatment

 

Consult a doctor if you are diagnosed with diabetes. Doctors will suggest the following treatment modalities.

 

Lifestyle modifications

 

  • A healthier diet that is high in fibre content and low in glycaemic index.
  • Regular exercise to improve your energy levels and promote overall well-being.
  • Quitting bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.

 

Medication

 

  • Diabetes medicines
  • Insulin for type-1 diabetes
  • Nutritional supplements to correct deficiencies
  • Surgery - Bariatric surgery to reduce weight

 

Conclusion

 

Diabetes can be controlled, and the glucose balance in the body can be restored with the help of diabetes medicines and healthy changes in your routine life. If uncontrolled, diabetes may affect your vital body functions such as kidneys, eyes, and nervous system. Getting your blood sugar tested regularly and taking diabetes medicines, when combined with a healthy diet and routine workouts, will help you gain control over diabetes. Be aware, get your blood sugar tested, and lead a healthy life despite being diabetic!

 

To know more about diabetes treatment, book your appointment today at Medanta Hospital.

For more details, visit us at https://www.medanta.org/endocrinology-diabetes-treatment/

 

Dr. Rujul Jain
Endocrinology & Diabetology
Meet The Doctor
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