Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Diabetes

Diabetes is a long-term medical illness in which your body can’t produce enough or use insulin as effectively as it should. Too much blood sugar remains in your bloodstream when insufficient insulin or cells cease reacting to insulin. That can eventually lead to major health issues like renal disease, eyesight loss, and heart disease.

Early Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Increased thirst 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Increased appetite 
  • Unexplained weight loss 

Type of Diabetes 

Type 1 Diabetes 

It is believed that an autoimmune reaction causes type 1 diabetes (the body attacks itself by mistake). This reaction stops your body’s production of insulin. Type 1 diabetes affects 5–10% of those with the disease. Typically, it begins in childhood.

Type 2 Diabetes 

Your body struggles to properly utilize insulin in type 2 diabetes, making it difficult to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The majority of diabetics (90–95%) are type 2. It takes years to develop, and adults are typically diagnosed with it (but more and more in children, teens, and young adults). If you are at risk, it is crucial to have your blood sugar tested because you might not exhibit any symptoms.

Gestational Diabetes 

Women who have never had the condition before and have become pregnant can develop gestational diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your unborn child may be more susceptible to health issues. After your baby is born, gestational diabetes typically disappears. However, it raises your chance of developing type 2 diabetes in later life.

Prediabetes 

Blood sugar levels are higher than normal in prediabetes but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke increases if you have prediabetes. Early implementation of lifestyle programs helps avoid full-blown condition.

Tests 

Blood sugar can be tested in 8-hour fasting and 2 hours after food. The HbA1C test gives the average blood sugar for the last three months. Kidney function tests, urine microalbumin, and blood cholesterol levels are also necessary for diagnosing and assessing the severity of the condition. 

Consultations

  • We ask the diabetic patient to consult an Ophthalmologist yearly for a retina check-up to prevent and treat diabetes-related visual loss. 
  • A Neurologist may be involved in the care of diabetes if he develops neurological complications like weakness of the body, tingling of legs and hands, double vision, facial deviation, etc., to name a few. 
  • A kidney specialist is involved in caring for a diabetic – if he develops a severe protein leak in urine or if the kidney function test is abnormal. Diabetic kidney disease is the commonest reason for chronic kidney disease, dialysis, and kidney transplantation. 
  • The cardiologist is consulted if the patient develops chest pain at rest or during exertion. Heart attack is the most common reason for death in a diabetic. Recently noted chest pain/shortness of breath on exertion is a sign of decreased blood flow to heart blood vessels and should be considered seriously by a diabetic. 
  • A clinical dietitian is pivotal in advising on proper diet and nutrition. 
  • A dental consultation is advised as dental/gum problems are very common in chronic uncontrolled diabetes. 

Diabetes Complications

If the condition is treated poorly, it can become fatal. A few of the many complications of uncontrolled diabetes include

  • Kidney failure
  • Double vision
  • Eyesight loss
  • Facial weakness
  • Numbness and weakness in both legs
  • Lack of sexual drive
  • Heart attacks
  • Recurrent infections that can be fatal
  • Skin illnesses
  • Foot difficulties
  • Depression

Indicators to Get Immediate Medical Attention

  • Having trouble breathing
  • Unable to keep any liquids down for more than 4 hours. 
  • Losing 2.5kg or more during the illness
  • Blood sugar lower than 60 mg/dl
  • Feeling too sick to eat normally and unable to keep down food for more than 24 hours 
  • Vomiting and/or severe diarrhea for more than 6 hours
  • Temperature is over 101 degrees F for 24 hours
  • Feeling sleepy/blackout or can’t think clearly. Have someone else call your doctor or take you to the emergency room

Reducing the Risk of Diabetes

Meal Planning Recommended by CDC

  • Fill half with non-starchynon-starchy vegetables, such as salad, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots. 
  • Fill one quarter with a lean protein, such as chicken, beans, eggs. 
  • Fill one quarter with carb foods. Foods that are higher in carbs include grains, starchy vegetables (such as potatoes and peas), rice, pasta, beans, fruit, and yogurt. A cup of milk also counts as a carb food. 

Exercise

At least 150 min/week -moderate physical exercise will help you not only in blood sugar control but also for overall health. Ask your doctor if you are fit for exercise. Stress relief practices like yoga has tremendous benefits. 

Good Sleep

At least 6 hours will calm your anti-insulin hormones and helps you in better sugar control. 

Not to fear, not to pull back , Enjoy your life. Together we can beat diabetes!! 

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