Diabetes is a prevalent ailment that impacts individuals across all age groups. It manifests in various types, with Type 2 being the most frequently encountered. Employing a blend of treatment approaches can aid in effectively handling the condition, enabling you to lead a healthful life while averting potential complications.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs when the level of glucose (blood sugar) becomes excessively elevated. This situation arises due to insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or a lack of response to insulin’s effects within your body. Diabetes is a condition that affects individuals of all age groups. While most forms of diabetes are chronic and long-lasting, they can be effectively managed through medications and/or adjustments to one’s lifestyle.
The primary source of glucose (sugar) is the carbohydrates present in the food and beverages you consume. Glucose serves as the primary energy source for your body, which is delivered to all cells via your bloodstream.
In order for glucose in the bloodstream to reach its intended destination, it requires a “key,” which is provided by insulin (a hormone). In cases where the pancreas isn’t generating sufficient insulin or the body isn’t utilizing it effectively, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
Persistently elevated blood glucose levels can lead to various health issues over time, including heart disease, nerve damage, and eye complications.
The technical term for diabetes is diabetes mellitus. Another condition, diabetes insipidus, shares the term “diabetes,” but it’s a separate condition. The shared term arises due to the common symptoms of increased thirst and frequent urination. However, diabetes insipidus is considerably rarer than diabetes mellitus.
What are the different types of diabetes?
There exist multiple types of diabetes. The primary variations include:
Type 2 diabetes: In this type, your body either doesn’t generate sufficient insulin and/or your body’s cells exhibit abnormal responsiveness to insulin (insulin resistance). This type is the most prevalent. While it predominantly affects adults, children can also be affected.
Prediabetes: This variant represents the stage prior to Type 2 diabetes. Blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet at the threshold for an official Type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
Type 1 diabetes: This type constitutes an autoimmune disorder wherein your immune system targets and eliminates insulin-producing cells in your pancreas without a known cause. Around 10% of individuals with diabetes have Type 1. While it’s commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, it can manifest at any age.
Gestational diabetes: This type emerges in some individuals during pregnancy. Typically, gestational diabetes recedes after childbirth. Nevertheless, having gestational diabetes elevates the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Other types of diabetes include:
- Type 3c diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas undergoes non-autoimmune damage, impairing its capacity to produce insulin. Conditions such as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis, and hemochromatosis can induce pancreas damage that triggers diabetes. The removal of the pancreas (pancreatectomy) likewise gives rise to Type 3c diabetes.
- Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA)
- Maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY)
- Neonatal diabetes
- Brittle diabetes
How common is diabetes?
Diabetes is prevalent. Roughly 37.3 million individuals in the United States are affected by diabetes, equating to around 11% of the population. Type 2 diabetes constitutes the most widespread form, encompassing 90% to 95% of all diabetes cases.
On a global scale, approximately 537 million adults live with diabetes. Projections from experts indicate that this figure could escalate to 643 million by 2030 and further to 783 million by 2045.
What causes Diabetes?
Diabetes arises from excessive blood glucose, but the triggers vary by type:
- Type 2: Insulin resistance due to factors like obesity, inactivity, genetics, and certain meds.
- Type 1/LADA: Immune system attacking pancreas’ insulin cells.
- Pregnancy-related hormones can cause gestational diabetes.
- Pancreatic damage can lead to Type 3c.
- Genetic mutations cause MODY/neonatal diabetes.
- Some meds can result in Type 2 diabetes.
Prevention of Diabetes
Preventing Type 1 and Type 1.5 diabetes is not possible, as they result from immune system issues. Some factors leading to Type 2 diabetes, like genetics and age, are beyond control as well.
However, many other diabetes risk factors can be managed. Most prevention strategies involve simple adjustments to diet and exercise routines.
For individuals diagnosed with prediabetes, delaying or preventing Type 2 diabetes can involve:
- Engaging in at least 150 minutes of weekly aerobic exercises like walking or cycling.
2. Eliminating saturated fats, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates from your diet.
3. Increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
4. Opting for smaller portions.
5. Aim to lose 5% to 7% of body weight if overweight or obese.
These approaches aren’t the sole methods for diabetes prevention. Explore additional strategies that might aid in averting this chronic health condition.
Will I need to take insulin if I have type 2 diabetes?
Maybe. Historically, 30% or more of people with type 2 diabetes require insulin therapy. However, there are many new drugs available that may delay or prevent the need for insulin therapy. It is expected that fewer and fewer individuals will need insulin replacement to control their blood sugars in the future.
Will I need to take insulin if I have type 1 diabetes?
Maybe. Historically, 30% or more of people with type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy. However, there are many new drugs available that may delay or prevent the need for insulin therapy. It is expected that fewer and fewer individuals will need insulin replacement to control their blood sugars in the future.
Why only me
A. Nobody in this world is free from disease. Anybody can get diabetes any day. There are some diseases that are incurable. At least diabetes has a treatment if not a cure. If managed properly you can lead a good quality life. B. Diabetes is a common disease. You are not alone. Many lifestyle factors affect/predispose us towards diabetes. If we control them we can lead an almost normal life. Thus instead of wasting time in self-pity, we can refocus that energy on controlling the situation. Not everything is in our hands. We should be able to decipher between what is and isn’t in our hands. Do our best and surely God will take care of the rest.
Why does uncontrolled diabetes cause dizziness and headaches?
It may be seen in people with diabetes-related to the effect of high or low glucose levels on the brain.
What are the Timings for Insulin intake?
The timing for insulin is not the same for everyone. Timings have to be individualized for you by your physician. You should follow your timings. All Short-acting insulin are given before meals (30 minutes prior for regular insulin and 5-15 minutes prior to meal for rapid-acting insulin analog). Long-acting may be given once daily like at Bedtime independent of meals. Intermediate-acting insulin may be given once or twice daily. Premixed insulin is also given twice daily before breakfast and before dinner.
What kind of exercise should be done to control?
A. Playing outdoor games is good exercise just like a brisk walk. One may need to monitor glucose levels before and after exercise. B. Minimum 30 mins/day of aerobic exercise 5 times a week.
What can I eat?
Everything healthy in the right quantities can be eaten by patients with DM. Eating according to the calories prescribed should be the norm. Eating diet low in carbohydrates, low in fat, and high in fibre helps not only diabetes control, but also overall health. In the diabetic diet, we urge people to eat a healthy diet including salads, vegetables, sprouts, and avoid carbonated beverages, sweets, fried items and all junk food.