What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that is characterized by having high levels of blood glucose. Having too much glucose in blood can cause health issues and if the blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is too high in any person it is called diabetes. Blood glucose is the major source of energy and comes from the diet which is consumed. The body contains a hormone named as Insulin that helps the glucose to get into the cells so as to provide energy.
There are various types of diabetes like Type-1, Type –II, gestational and pre-diabetes. When a person suffers from diabetes the body does not makes insulin and thus the glucose fails to gets into the body cells and stays in the blood. This raised blood sugar level or glucose level can cause problems like eye damage, kidney damage, heart diseases, etc. Thus diabetes can be a serious condition if left untreated. While diabetes has no permanent cure, it can get steps to handle diabetes of a person and keep on healthy and fit life.
What are the Different Types of Diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of diseases in which the body doesn’t produce enough or any insulin, doesn’t properly use the insulin that is produced, or exhibits a combination of both. When any of these things happens, the body is unable to get sugar from the blood into the cells. That leads to high blood sugar levels.
The three main types of diabetes are:
Type 1 diabetes: The immune system of a person mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. In some people genes also play a role in the cause of this disease. Thus, insulin is not produced and thus there is high blood glucose.
Type 2 diabetes: This occurs due to insulin resistance. It is the combination of genetics and lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese increases the risk of this problem. Due to heavy weight in the belly the cells become more resistant to the effects of insulin on blood sugar.
Gestational diabetes: The main cause of this problem is hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones and these hormones can make cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin. This can cause high blood sugar during pregnancy. Through proper diet this disease can be prevented.
Read More: What is Gestational Diabetes?
What are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes?
The early signs and symptoms of diabetes are:
Increased hunger and thirst
Frequent urination and Dry mouth
Weight loss and Fatigue
Headaches and Irritability
Slow-healing wounds and Blurred vision
Nausea and Skin infections such as Darkening of skin in areas of body creases (acanthosis nigricans)
Breathe odor that is fruity, sweet, or an acetone odor
Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Retrograde ejaculation and Low testosterone (low-T)
Decreased sex drive (decreased libido) and sexual dysfunction and Sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise and/or not physically active) and Low testosterone in men
High blood pressure and High cholesterol
Smoking and Excess alcohol intake
Lack of sleep and Heart disease
Nerve damage and neuropathy (nerve pain) and Kidney disease
Retinopathy (nerve damage in the eye and/or blindness) and Stroke
Peripheral vascular disease and Yeast infections
What are the Causes of Diabetes?
The leading causes and prevention of diabetes are:
In Type 1 diabetes the causes are:
The immune system of a person mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. In some people Genes also play a role in the cause of this disease. Thus, insulin is not produced.
In Type 2 diabetes the causes are:
This occurs due to insulin resistance. It is the combination of genetics and lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese increases the risk of this problem. Especially carrying extra weight in your belly because this extra weight makes your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin on blood sugar.
The main cause of this problem is hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones and these hormones can make cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin. This can cause high blood sugar during pregnancy. Through proper diet this disease can be prevented.
How to Diagnose Diabetes?
There are several tests that helps a doctor in diagnosis of the diabetes:
1. Tests for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Random blood sugar test. A blood sample will be taken at a random time. Regardless of when you last ate, a random blood sugar level of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) — 11.1 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) — or higher suggests diabetes.
Fasting blood sugar test : The patient glucose levels are tested before meals and after meals. If the glucose levels are less than 100 mg/dL than it is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 126 mg/dL or higher even after repeated separate tests, confirms diabetes
Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test: This test shows what a person's average blood glucose level was for the 2 to 3 months before the test. The blood sample can be drawn with or without meals.
2. Tests for gestational diabetes
If you're at average risk of gestational diabetes, you'll likely have a screening test for gestational diabetes sometime during your second trimester — typically between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Initial glucose challenge test.
Follow-up glucose tolerance testing.
Also Read: What is Diabetic Socks Used For ?
What are the Best Treatment for Diabetes?
In the treatment of each and every type of diabetes the patient must follow some guidelines such as eating healthy and proper food and also must have a good exercise plan.
Treatments for type 1 diabetes : Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump, frequent blood sugar checks, and carbohydrate counting.
Treatments for type 2 diabetes :Treatment of type 2 diabetes primarily involves lifestyle changes, monitoring of your blood sugar, along with diabetes medications, insulin or both.
Medications: Medicines like Metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others) are generally prescribed for type 2 diabetes. In cases of high damage transplantation and bariatric surgery is also an options for patients.Treatment for pre-diabetes is also done by taking medications — such as metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others).
Treatment for gestational diabetes : Controlling your blood sugar level is essential to keeping your baby healthy and avoiding complications during delivery.
What are the Side Effects of Diabetes Medication?
Many people with type 2 diabetes do take a combination of medications to help control their diabetes. With combination therapy, there is increased risk for low blood sugar. These medicines may produce certain side effects which are listed below:
The sulfonylureas may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), skin rash or itching, sensitivity to sunlight, upset stomach, and weight gain.
The meglitinides may cause hypoglycemia and weight gain.
People taking biguanides may develop lactic acidosis, a rare but severe side effect.
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors may cause gastrointestinal problems.
The DPP-4 inhibitor sitagliptin (Januvia) may cause serious allergic reactions, sore throat, upper respiratory infection, and headache.
Pramlintide (with insulin) may cause gastrointestinal problems (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, anorexia), slight weight loss, headache, fatigue, dizziness, coughing, sore throat, and skin reactions at the injection site.
How to Prevent Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is not preventable because it is caused by a problem with the immune system. Insulin supplements are taken so as to overcome the loss of insulin.
Type –II diabetes and Gestational diabetes can be controlled and prevented by taking medicines and ensuring proper diet and exercise routine. Medicines like Glumetza, Glucophage, Fortamet, Riomet are used to treat Type-II. Aerobic exercises such cycling and walking is very helpful in preventing diabetes this exercise should be done at least 150 minutes per week. Lose your weight and add healthy diet to your meal.
What are the Complications of Diabetes?
Eye Complications - Disorders like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.
Foot Complications - Gangrene, ulcers or neuropathy caused by diabetes can require foot amputation.
Skin Complications - People who have diabetes are more prone to developing skin disorders and skin infections.
Heart Problems - The blood supply to the muscles of the heart is diminished like ischaemic heart disease can arise due to diabetes.
Hearing Loss - People who have diabetes are more susceptible to developing hearing problems.
What are the Home Remedies for Diabetes?
Some of the home remedies to manage the diabetes are as follows:
1. Bitter gourd or karela
For lowering blood sugar levels bitter gourd which contains two very essential compounds called charatin and momordicin is the best available option.
It is helps to control diabetes, improve glucose tolerance, lower blood sugar levels and stimulate the secretion of glucose-dependent insulin.
3. Mango leaves
Boil some fresh mango leaves in a glass of water and leave it to cool overnight. Drink the water in the morning on empty stomach.
4. Indian gooseberry or amla
Indian gooseberry or amla is one of the richest sources of vitamin C and helps your pancreas to produce optimum so that your blood glucose levels remain balanced.
5. Drumstick or moringa leaves
The drumstick or moringa oleifera leaves are best known for its ability to Drumstick or Moringa oleifera leaves are best known for its ability to maintain blood sugar levels and boost one's energy.
Dr Sunil Kumar