WHAT IS DIABETES?

Diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus (DM), is a long term chronic health condition, which is a result of excess sugar (glucose) in the blood. With high glucose levels, the body is not able to do anything, paving the way for worse health conditions.

There are namely three types of diabetes

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Gestational Diabetes

Worldwide more than 380 million people are affected by the disease, and the number is expected to double by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

WHAT IS PREDIABETES?

Pre-diabetics is the condition describing the onset of diabetes, formerly known as borderline diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. It usually leads to the development of type2 diabetes, unless the patient takes steps to prevent it which is only possible at this stage, and not afterward.

Many people are unaware of this condition, as it’s usually asymptomatic. People who are overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk for this condition further developing into type 2 diabetes, where the body’s efficiency to produce and use insulin to metabolize glucose fades away.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are primarily two types of tests which measure the level of glucose in the blood.

TYPES OF DIABETES?

  • Type 1 Diabetes
    Also known as juvenile diabetes, earlier it was referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. It is the result of the body not being able to produce enough insulin for glucose absorption.
    This condition usually arises from one’s own immune system destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. In most cases, genetics and environmental factors may trigger the disease. This, however, affects only 15% of the people suffering from diabetes, the rest 85% suffer from type 2.

  • Type 2 Diabetes
    This is the most common type of diabetes, where the body becomes insulin-resistant and the cells fail to respond to insulin properly. Without proper treatment, the condition is expected to progress to the level where the body stops producing insulin.
    This condition was formerly referred to as "non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (NIDDM) or "adult-onset diabetes". This condition is mostly caused by obesity and the lack of exercises.

  • Gestation Diabetes
    This is the third type of diabetes which is slowly catching up the pace and occurs when pregnant women without a history of diabetes develop high blood pressure.
    Gestation diabetes usually develops during the third trimester of pregnancy. Though temporary in nature, some women ought to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. This might cause complications during birth as well as increase the risk of the baby developing diabetes if not controlled right away. After delivery, the blood sugar levels generally return back to normal.

SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES

TYPE I DIABETES

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce adequate insulin, due to which the body is not able to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) units which cause primary symptoms in the form of nausea and vomiting, followed by the symptoms found in type 2 diabetes. It is in the later stage of type 1 diabetes that we discover this deadly illness can lead to alternate diseases like ketoacidosis, weight loss, coma, and even death.

TYPE I DIABETES

  • Increased Fatigue:
    When the cells are not able to metabolize glucose, it uses up the fat reserve in order to gain energy. This process of gaining energy in itself, uses up all the energy in breaking down fat, thereby resulting in fatigue.
  • Increased Thirst/ Polydipsia:
    With an excess concentration of sugar in the blood, our brain sends out signals to dilute it, making us feel thirsty.
  • Increased Urination/ Polyuria:
    With all the extra sugar in the blood, the body is tempted to remove it from the system in the form of urine. Increase in urine production is due to the excess content of glucose present directly leading to dehydration.
  • Increased Hunger/ Polyphegia:
    High sugar levels make the body produce more insulin, which is responsible for stimulating hunger. This is why diabetic patients often feel hungry all the time.
  • Weight Fluctuation:
    Factors like loss of water, metabolism of body fat, and protein are directly responsible for weight loss in a few people. But for some people, it is the opposite which results in increased appetite and eventually, weight gain.
  • Blurry Vision:
    High blood sugar often causes the eye lens to swell which directly affects your vision problems causing difficulties like vision blurriness, watering, and more.
  • Poor Wound Healing:
    High blood sugar hampers the production of white blood cells and prolonged diabetes results in the thickening of blood vessels, both of which slows down the recovery process of the body.
  • Irritability:
    When the body is not able to metabolize sugar into glucose, the body experiences lack of adequate energy and this inefficient supply of glucose to the brain and to other body organs may make you feel confused or irritated.

CAUSES OF TYPE 2 DIABETES AND PREDIABETES?

1.       Obesity:

Obesity has been considered one of the integral underlying causes of diabetes where fat deposits make it difficult for the body to absorb ample glucose, required to provide the body with energy for daily activities.

Those being on the heavier side of weight have higher chances of developing diabetes.

At present, an approx 1.7 billion adults worldwide are considered overweight, amongst which 312 million are termed obese. Simultaneously, at least 155 million children worldwide are considered either overweight or obese.  

2.       Sedentary Lifestyle:

Leading a sedentary lifestyle with little or no exercise increases the chances of both weight gain and diabetes among people. Actively working out for 150 minutes a week will keep you healthy and away from many health problems including diabetes.

3.       Lack of physical exercise:

Physical inactivity has been linked as the culprit for many life-threatening chronic conditions. When you work out or stay active the muscle uses up the glucose to get energy and in this way, the blood glucose level is minimized.

Exercising will not only help you promote insulin efficiency, but will also help in maintaining an ideal weight.

4.       Improper Diet:

Consuming a diet high in sugar, fat and saturated fats have a profound effect on you, increasing your chances of developing diabetes. A diet devoid of essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals is the first step towards conditions like malnutrition, fatigue and a host of physical and psychological ailments. Consult a nutrition for the  best diabetes diet plans to help you keep your blood glucose in check.


TYPES OF TESTS TO DETERMINE DIABETES?

Fasting Plasma Glucose test:

As the name suggests, you need to fast for at least 8 hours before taking the test, a blood sample is taken and the glucose level is measured.

If the patient has glucose between 100 and 125 mg/dl, then the person has pre-diabetes.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test:

After the fasting plasma glucose test, the patient is asked to drink or eat something high in sugar and have the glucose test after two hours of consumption.

If the level of glucose is between 140 and 199mg/dl, he or she is pre-diabetic.

Glycated Haemoglobin Test (A1C):

The A1C diabetes test is done to check the average level of sugar over the past three months, a reading anywhere between 5.7 and 6.4 percent means an individual is likely to have pre-diabetes.

But some conditions like pregnancy, blood disorders like anemia may interfere with the diagnosis and lead to poor management of the disease.