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When diabetes strikes (and it can strike anyone at any point in their lives), it acts as more than just a disease. It is a lifestyle disorder and its cases are increasing at an alarming rate due to sedentary lifestyle and lack of awareness. Here are some of the fundamental facts you need to know about the condition.
What is Diabetes?
- It occurs when the body stops producing insulin or stops responding to the insulin that is produced.
- Insulin is the hormone which absorbs glucose from the bloodstream and carries it to the cells where it is used up as energy. It is produced by the pancreas.
- Glucose is derived from the food we eat – majorly carbohydrates and sugars. It is converted into energy by the cells and also helps the brain to function normally.
- So, when the body does not produce insulin or develops insulin resistance, it results in an increased quantity of glucose in the bloodstream or as it is commonly called – high blood sugar.
- Insulin Resistance occurs when the body does produce insulin but it cannot be utilized by the cells.
What Are The Types Of Diabetes?
- The body doesn’t produce insulin
- Afflicts teenagers or young adults
- Also known as early onset or juvenile diabetes
- Occurs in about 10% of diabetes cases
- Patients need to take insulin injections and monitor glucose levels periodically throughout their life.
- The body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body develops a resistance.
- Can occur at all ages. The elderly and the overweight are more susceptible.
- Increasingly common
- Patients need to make drastic changes in their lifestyle such as weight loss, continually monitoring glucose levels and taking insulin.
- Diagnosis made during pregnancy
- Puts women at risk of developing diabetes after delivery
- Can be controlled with proper exercise, diet and blood glucose controlling medication in some cases.
- Undiagnosed cases can result in problems with childbirth
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a signal that you’re on the path to developing diabetes. People who are prediabetic have high blood sugar levels but not enough to fall in the diabetes range. Basically, you’re borderline diabetic.
Even at the prediabetes stage, patients may have already suffered from some heart damage.
The good news is that it can be controlled and prevented from becoming diabetes. As soon as you’re diagnosed, you must start paying special attention to your diet and physical activity.
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Excessive fatigue
- Weight Loss/Gain
- Frequent infections
- Blurred Vision
- Difficulty concentrating, mood swings
What are the tests you need to undergo?
As the early symptoms of the disease are pretty mild, you cannot rely only on them. These are the diabetes tests you need to go through in order to detect it:
|A1C||Fasting Plasma Glucose||Oral Glucose Tolerance|
|Normal||6.5 or above||126 or above||200 or above|
|Diabetes||Around 5||99 or below||139 or below|
How to manage diabetes?
Diet and Nutrition
You need a specialized diabetic diet which includes fruits and vegetables in generous amounts. Go easy on the carbohydrates, trans fats, saturates fats and sugar. Drink a lot of water. You can also drink juices for diabetics that are low on sugar and keep your blood glucose in check.
Exercise atleast four times a week even if it is just a ten minute walk or yoga. If you are overweight, take the necessary steps to start losing the extra fat.
Keeping tabs on your blood sugar levels is essential. Get yourself a glucose monitor so you can track your levels on your own. Monthly visits to the doctor are still necessary but checking on your own will keep your mind at ease.
Alternative Treatment Methods
In addition to medication, you can also try alternative healing methods to manage the disease holistically. Acupressure, Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Homeopathy and massage therapy are treatments that heal without any side effects. It is important to note that these are to be used as complementary treatment methods and not in place of medication.
Feet and Teeth Care
Wash your feet in lukewarm water every day and dry gently. Pay attention to any cuts and sores that do not heal promptly. As diabetics are also susceptible to gum infections, it becomes essential to follow a regular dental routine.
Smokers with diabetes are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases than non-smokers. So it is imperative to quit the habit at the earliest.
Prolonged stress has a negative effect on blood sugar. It is important to learn relaxation techniques such as meditation and get plenty of sleep.
It’s tough but not impossible to live a long, happy life with diabetes. All you need to do is get organized and systematic.