Diabetes: Everything you need to know

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder which affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food we eat is broken down into sugar also known as glucose and is released into your bloodstream. When the blood sugar goes up, it signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts as a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells to use as energy.

In diabetes, our body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin as it should be used. When there isn’t enough insulin or when the cells stop responding to insulin, much blood sugar stays in the bloodstream. With time, it can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease.

There is no complete cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food and staying active can really help. Taking medicine as prescribed by the doctor, getting diabetes self-management education and keeping healthcare appointments can reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.

Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction, which stops the body from making insulin. Approximately 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens and young adults. If s person has type 1 diabetes, he or she needs to take insulin every day to survive.

Risk factors:

  • A family history of Type 1 diabetes
  • Pancreatic injury (because of infection, tumor, surgery or accident)
  • Autoimmune reaction
  • Physical illness, surgery, or stress
  • Being exposed to viruses

Type 2 Diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, the person’s body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (but more in children, teens, and young adults). We may not notice any symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy food, and staying active.

Risk factors:

  • Prediabetes or type 2 diabetes in the family
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Over 45 years old
  • Having an African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American or Pacific Islander ancestry
  • Diabetes during pregnancy or having an infant weighing over 9 pounds at birth
  • PCOS
  • Previous heart problems
  • Smoking

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If a woman has gestational diabetes, then her baby could be at higher risk for health problems. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, but increases the risk of type 2 diabetes later. The baby is more likely to have obesity as a child or teen and is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life too.

Risk factors:

  • Presence of prediabetes in the family
  • Having an African-American, Hispanic, Native American, or Asian heritage
  • Obesity before pregnancy
  • Over 25 years of age

Prediabetes

People who develop diabetes typically undergo a stage of prediabetes or “impaired glucose tolerance” before they develop the disease. Changing your diet and staying physically active, can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Preventing type 2 diabetes and managing prediabetes can be accomplished by focusing on a healthy diet with low sugars (carbohydrates). The best way to manage this is to work with a registered dietitian to develop a personal meal plan.

Symptoms of diabetes:

  • An increase in thirst
  • A feeling of weakness and fatigue
  • Infected wounds that don’t heal quickly
  • Dried mouth
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Hands and feet that feel numb or tingly
  • Frequent urinating
  • Unusual infections

Complications:

  • Stroke, heart attack and heart disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Vision loss and retinopathy
  • Deafness
  • Infections of the feet
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Depression
  • Memory loss

If diabetes isn’t controlled properly, it can lead to severe health issues. At the OMNI center of excellence for diabetes, we provide diabetes counselling by certified educators, customized meal plans, expert care for diabetic complications such as screening and management of foot ulcers, retinopathy, muscular disorders, cataracts, and glaucoma. If you’re looking for, expert advice on diabetes, book an appointment now on 8880 101 000

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