A sweet goodbye to diabetes

Diabetes does not only take all things sweet away from your life but also lead to several complications.

Diabetes is an inability to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood, leading to various symptoms that can affect the entire body and lead to life-threatening problems. The health condition is characterized by erratic levels of blood sugar in the body. In simple words, it occurs when either the body produces little or no insulin hormone.

And it is not a problem ringing alarm bells far away from home. India is known as the diabetes capital of the world -- this is a not-so-sweet fact about the disease plaguing the country at the moment.

Another report states that one in four Indians under 25 is diagnosed with diabetes, and another one claims that India currently represents 49 percent of the world’s diabetes burden, with an estimated figure to increase to 134 million by 2025.

There is another government health survey, conducted across the states and territories, pointing out that more than a fifth of India’s 125-crore population suffers from diabetes. And this will increase the financial burden of the nation as the cost of treating diabetes is estimated to be over 15 billion dollars a year in India.

But what exactly is diabetes?

Described as a chronic and metabolic disease, it is characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar). To understand the disease, one needs to note that glucose is the main form of sugar in the body. The body breaks down food into glucose to use it as a source of energy to function properly. If a person is healthy, insulin helps to regulate glucose levels.

But under this health condition, one’s body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1, previously known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes mellitus. It is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. People suffering from this condition make little or no insulin in their bodies. They need to be given regular insulin injections for the management of diabetes. This condition usually starts in childhood, but there is no particular age. While the cause isn't always clear, the condition mostly runs in families.
  • Type 2, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes. This is the most common type, usually in adults. It occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't make enough insulin. According to studies, the number of people suffering from this condition has risen dramatically in countries.

Under this type, the body produces normal or even high levels of insulin, but certain factors make the body insulin resistance. Some of the contributory factors might be a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, and consequent obesity. It usually starts in adulthood.

  • Pregnancy-induced diabetes also called gestational diabetes. It is due to raised blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It develops in 5 percent of all pregnancies but usually disappears when the pregnancy is over.

Each type of diabetes has unique symptoms, causes, and treatments. But mostly the disease leads to damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

Know the risk factors of diabetes

Most of the time, people with diabetes don't know they have it. Are you one of them? Well, read on to see if your risk of having diabetes is high.

  • Family history: It is important to know your family history. It affects the chances that a person will have islet-cell antibodies which, in turn, increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The cells are clusters of cells in the pancreas that sense blood-glucose levels, which produce insulin accordingly.
  • Autoimmune disease: Type 1 diabetes can be a result of some other autoimmune diseases like thyroid or vitiligo.
  • Environmental factors: The rising percentage of type 1 diabetes in recent times has been linked to changes in the environment, and a result of a lifestyle that has only been partially identified.
  • Each type of diabetes has unique symptoms and causes. But one needs to keep a check on the following risk factors, to lower your chance of getting the disease.
  • Overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Aging
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy

It is important to learn more about risk factors for each type of diabetes and what can be done to reduce risk. One can do that by taking the help of an expert, or by calling at Dr. Cure and Care to get help from a professional.

Know the symptoms at the right time

How can you tell if you have diabetes? Most early symptoms are from higher-than-normal levels of glucose in your blood. But symptoms depend on the type and duration of diabetes.

The warning signs can be mild that one can miss spotting them. Both types of diabetes have some of the same warning signs. Look for these:

  • Hunger and fatigue. Your body converts the food into glucose that your cells use for energy. But cells need insulin to bring the glucose in. If your body doesn't make enough or any insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin, the glucose can't get into them and you have no energy. This leads to you feeling hungry all the time and tired more than usual.
  • Urination: An average person urinates between four and seven times in 24 hours, but people with diabetes may go a lot more. What’s the reason behind this analysis?

Well, your body re-absorbs glucose as it passes through your kidneys. But when diabetes pushes your blood sugar up, your kidneys may not be able to bring it all back in. This leads to your body making more urine.

  • Dry mouth and itchy skin: It is linked to the point mentioned above. When you are urinating more, you are always thirsty as there is less moisture. You may feel dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin can also make you feel itchy.
  • Blurred vision. The change in fluid levels can make the lenses in your eyes swell up. They change shape and lose their ability to focus.

Other common symptoms:

  • Urinary and vaginal infections
  • Skin infections, especially fungal or more serious bacterial infections
  • Weight loss
  • Genital itching or regular episodes UTI
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet

It is important to note that insulin deficiency can make a person drowsy and then go into a coma. This is called Ketoacidosis. Other symptoms of ketoacidosis include Deep rapid breathing, a fruity odor to the breath, pain in the stomach with nausea and vomiting.

Picking the right treatment

The main goal of diabetes treatment is controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels to prevent complications of the disease. There are many treatments available to help one manage diabetes. Since is everyone is different, the treatment will vary depending on your individual needs.

There are many different treatments for diabetes. A professional can help find the right treatment to suit you and your lifestyle

If you are suffering from type 2 diabetes, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes to support weight loss and overall health. You may also have to use insulin or tablets. It primarily involves monitoring your blood sugar, along with diabetes medications, insulin or both.

The treatment for type 1 diabetes involves insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump, frequent blood sugar checks, and carbohydrate counting. It requires a strict regimen that typically includes a calculated diet, planned physical activity, multiple daily insulin injections, and home blood glucose testing several times per day.

Apart from this, Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), also available at Dr. Cure and Care, has been found to reduce glycemia on type 1 patients. Instead of high-power lasers that use heat and destroy tissue, in this therapy, low-energy lasers affect the cellular energy of the underlying tissue. The therapy is used for the restoration of cellular activity and reactivating the dormant non-functioning cells.

Other steps you can embrace for a healthy life:

  • A healthy diet is rich in fresh, nutritious foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and healthy fat sources.
  • Avoiding high-sugar foods that provide calories that don’t have other nutritional benefits, such as sweetened sodas, fried foods, and high-sugar desserts.
  • No drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or keeping intake to less than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
  • Adding at least 30 minutes of exercise a day on at least 5 days of the week.

"It is time you take control of diabetes before it takes control of your body."