What is Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition, where the level of blood sugar is too high. If these high glucose levels are untreated, they can damage multiple organs of the body. When the sugar levels are well controlled, a person with diabetes can lead a healthy and fulfilling life with minimal complications. Diabetes is a prevalent condition that impacts individuals of all age groups. There are several forms of diabetes exist, with Type 2 being the most prevalent. Utilizing a combination of treatment approaches can assist in effectively managing the condition, enabling individuals to lead a healthy life and reduce the risk of complications.

Glucose is the main source of energy that comes from the food we eat. When we eat, our body breaks down food into sugars or glucose. The pancreas, an organ in our body produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps glucose from food get into our cells to be used as energy.

Simple Definition Of Diabete

Insulin serves as a “key” to open cells and allows glucose to enter – allowing us to use the glucose for making energy.

sometimes our body does not make enough or any insulin or does not use it well. Glucose then stays in our blood and doesn’t reach our cells. Having too much glucose in our blood causes diabetes. High blood glucose levels occur due to:

  • Insulin deficiency – the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, or
  • Insulin resistance – the body cells are unable to take up enough insulin from the bloodstream as they should

Both conditions cause the glucose to be locked out of the body cells and accumulate in the blood, ultimately resulting in high blood glucose.

Types of Diabetes

Depending on the various causes, diabetes is classified into different types. The management will vary, on the cause of the problem. It is important to know what type of diabetes you have because your type of diabetes might need to be managed differently from someone else’s. Here we list the three major kinds of diabetes

  1. Type 1 diabetes mellitus (Type 1 DM)This mainly occurs in children due to Insulin deficiency and affects 10% of all people with diabetes across the world.
  2. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (Type 2 DM)This occurs in adults mainly due to Insulin resistance. It consists of 90% of all people with diabetes worldwide.
  3. Diabetes in pregnancy {Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)}This occurs during pregnancy and can harm the health of both the mother and child. It generally disappears after the birth of the baby. However women who had gestational diabetes are more likely to develop the same in future pregnancies and type 2 diabetes. A blood test every year will help monitor and control diabetes.
  4. PrediabetesPrediabetes is a state wherein the blood glucose levels are higher than normal yet not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. It is an alarm to let you know that you may have diabetes in the future. Apart from diabetes, people with pre-diabetes are also at great risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. As pre-diabetes has no signs or symptoms, yearly tests to rule out the condition can help in preventing diabetes.

Other than type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there are other kinds of diabetes. Click here to learn more about them

Early Diabetes Symptoms

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased frequency of urination, especially at nights
  • Increased hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bed Wetting
  • Feeling tired throughout the day
  • Blurring of vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Wounds not healing

Some people are unaware that they have diabetes until they experience diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or numbness in hands or feet. It is important to get annual checkups to rule out diabetes.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for diabetes vary depending upon:

  • Internal body structure
  • Family history
  • Health and environmental factors

Diabetes can occur due to any one or a mix of the above factors.

Diabetes Treatment Management
Diabetes Treatment Management

Diabetes Management & Treatment

  • Diet Modifications to control blood sugar and fatty food consumption
  • Lifestyle modifications like regular exercise
  • Medications (as prescribed by a qualified doctor)
  • Regular follow-up
  • Yearly examinations of eyes, kidneys, and nerves (more frequent in case any of the organs are already affected)
  • Medications:
  • Oral medications only or in combination with Insulin (if required) for Type 2
  • Insulin only for Type 1

Tests to diagnose diabetes

Tests are the usual practice that confirms whether you are a diabetes patient or not. Most doctors treating patients with diabetes recommend the following tests:

Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test

A fasting blood sugar (FBS) test is done to measure the glucose level in blood on an empty stomach that is after eight hours of fasting. It is usually done early in the morning after overnight fasting.

  • For a person without diabetes, the FBS level ranges between 72mgs/dl – 99 mg/dl
  • A person with diabetes should aim for FBS levels between 72mg/dl – 126 mg/dl

Post-lunch blood sugar test

A blood sugar test done after a meal is post post-lunch blood sugar test (PLBS).  Usually in a post-lunch blood test, the blood sample is taken two hours after the meal.

  • For a person without diabetes, the PLBS level must be: ≥140mgs/dl two hours after the meal
  • In-person with diabetes, it is: ≥ 200mg/dl

Random plasma glucose (RPG) test

The blood sugar reading obtained when a blood sample is taken and tested at any time irrespective of the time of meal is a random blood sugar test.

  • For a person without diabetes, the normal random blood sugar reading is:  200mg/dl
  • For a person with diabetes, it is:  ≥ 200mg/dl

Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) for diabetes in pregnancy

The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is usually done to diagnose diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes). This test determines how our body cells respond to a certain amount of sugar. In other words, it measures the ability of the cells to cope with the sudden surge in sugar levels.

  • How is OGTT done?

First, the blood sample is taken following eight hours of fasting to measure FBS. Then water mixed with 75 mgs of sugar is given to drink and blood samples are taken at one hour and two hour intervals. If the following values are seen then the person is said to have gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy).

  • FBS = ≥92mg/
  • 1 hour ≥ 180mg/dl
  • 2 hour ≥ 153mg/dl

HBA1C Or Glycosylated Haemoglobin Test

This test gives an average blood sugar level over the past three months. HbA1c values that tell whether you have diabetes or not are:

  • Normal: <6%
  • Prediabetes: 6% -6.4%
  • Diabetes: >6.4%

People with diabetes should aim for an HbA1c target of 48 mmol/mol (6.5%).

That’s it we have given short and crisp info regarding Diabetes, types, management, tests, and treatment we will tell more details in further articles.