Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugars due to inadequate production of insulin or because the body’s cells do not respond to the insulin produced.

There are 2 types of diabetes

  1. Type 1 diabetes – It is also known as insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. In this the body does not produce hormone insulin due to destruction of beta cells in the pancreas. In this type of diabetes the person needs to take insulin injections regularly for the rest of their life and needs continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels.
  2. Type 2 diabetes – This is known as non-insulin dependent diabetes. In this the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not respond the insulin produced.

Symptoms of diabetes are

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urine output
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Tingling numbness in the feet.

Causes for type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying the cells that produce insulin, this leaves the body without enough insulin to break down the sugars. This is known as autoimmune reaction.

Causes for type 2 diabetes

Cause for this type of diabetes is multifactorial most common cause is family history of type 2 diabetes.

However there are many risk factors for type 2 diabetes which increase the chances of developing this condition:

  1. Obesity
  2. Sedentary Lifestyle
  3. Unhealthy diet

Other causes are

  1. Pancreatitis
  2. Cushing’s syndrome
  3. Polycystic ovarian disease

Tests to determine diabetes

Blood sugar levels are the easiest way to find out if one has diabetes

FBS (fasting blood sugar) – 70 to 100 mg/dl

PPBS (post prandial blood sugar) – 110 to 140 mg/dl

Anything above these levels are suggestive of diabetes.

The HbA1c test, also known as the hemoglobin A1c or glycated hemoglobin test, is an important blood test that gives a good indication of how well your diabetes is being controlled.

Normal levels – below 6%

Pre diabetes -6 to 6.4 %

Diabetes – above 6.5%

Diabetes is a disease that affects all the organ systems but with correct treatment and life style changes one can prevent the onset of complications.

Acute Complications

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

Chronic Complications

  • Kidney damage
  • Vision loss
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood vessel disease

Diet for diabetics

  • Eat regular meals and spread them evenly throughout the day.
  • Include High fiber foods (Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily)
  • Limit Intake of foods with high amount of fat.
  • Include Low fat dairy products
  • Prefer Lean cuts.
  • Limit packaged foods
  • Read food labels carefully and check the sugar in foods.

Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy life style can help control diabetes and avoid complications.

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