Causes and Symptoms of diabetes
With diabetes such an epidemic today, it is essential that you know exactly what it is. Why? Well, to prevent getting diabetes yourself that is!
In layman terms, “diabetes” is the inability of the body to process sugars properly. When we eat or drink, our “pancreas” produces a hormone called “insulin”. Insulin is released into the blood and helps to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Diabetes is a condition where this process does not function correctly.
The reason why diabetes occurs is because no insulin is being produced (often called Type 1 Diabetes) and requires the sufferer to use insulin injections, or insulin is produced but the body becomes resistant to it. This renders the insulin ineffective. This is normally called Type 2 Diabetes and is rapidly becoming more common.
[box]The danger is that while diabetes is not immediately life threatening the long term effects of high blood sugar can be damaging to one’s health.
Uncontrolled diabetes and prolonged high blood sugar levels can, in later life, cause problems to many organs including the kidneys, eyes, nerves and the heart.[/box]
This may sound grim, however controlling blood sugar by a combination of medicine, diet and exercise will vastly reduce the long term complications. Recent research shows that 2 in every 100 people have diabetes. Alarmingly half of these people do not even know they have it. Many people have diabetes without being aware of it because someone with diabetes looks no different from anyone else.
A normal blood sugar level is generally between 72 – 126 mg/dl or 4 – 7 mmol/l (where 1 mmol/l = 18mg/dl). If the body is unable to keep the blood sugar level within these limits, then diabetes is diagnosed. Diagnosis of diabetes can occur out of the blue during a routine check-up but more often it follows from the sufferer experiencing the “symptoms” of diabetes. These symptoms can be many or few, mild or severe depending on the individual.
[box]How do you find out if you have diabetes? The simplest way to check if you have diabetes is to arrange a blood sugar check with your doctor.
A tiny sample of blood, obtained by pricking a finger is checked using a small electronic tester.[/box]
Common Diabetes Symptoms:
Loss Of Weight – Glucose is the form of sugar which is the body’s main fuel. Diabetics cannot process this properly so it passes into the urine and out of the body. Less fuel means the body’s reserve tissues are broken down to produce energy with a resultant loss in weight.
Thirst – Often it seems no matter how much you drink your mouth still feels dry. The problem is compounded before diabetes is diagnosed by sufferers drinking huge amounts of sugary drinks! Of course this only increases the blood sugar level and leads to increased thirst.
Urinating More Often – Sufferers need to urinate often and pass large volumes each time. In addition this symptom takes no account of time so sleep is constantly disturbed by having to visit the bathroom during the night. It is a mistake to think this is caused by the increased thirst and drinking more. On the other hand, high sugar levels in the blood spill over into the urine making it syrupy. To counter-act this water is drawn from the body causing dehydration and therefore thirst.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms it does not necessarily follow that you are diabetic however it might be advisable to visit your doctor to be sure. If it does turn out that you have diabetes please do not panic! It can come as a shock and it will mean some changes in your life. While it is incurable it can be treated so the long term complications are reduced or even eliminated.
By knowing exactly what diabetes is – and recognizing the symptoms early on – you can prevent it from ever building up within you. Start today by monitoring your health and daily eating habits. Or as they say, preventing is better than finding a cure later on!
[box]The number of people around the world suffering from diabetes has skyrocketed in the last two decades, from 30 million to 230 million, claiming millions of lives and severely taxing the ability of health care systemsto deal with the epidemic, according to data released Saturday by the International Diabetes Federation.[/box]
As by now you know, Diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot properly store and use fuel for energy. The fuel that your body needs is called glucose, a form of sugar. Glucose comes from foods such as breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruits and some vegetables. To use glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is made by a gland in your body called the pancreas. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy.
Types of Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous clinical disorder with numerous causes. Two main classifications of diabetes mellitus exist, idiopathic and secondary.
Idiopathic diabetes is divided into two main types; insulin dependent and non-insulin-depenedent. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, IDDM (Type 1) is defined by the development of ketoacidosis in the absence of insulin therapy. Type 1 diabetes most often manifests in childhood (hence also called juvenile onset diabetes) and is the result of an autoimmune destruction of the b-cells of the pancreas. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM (Type 2) is characterized by persistent hyperglycemia but rarely leads to ketoacidosis. Type 2 diabetes generally manifests after age 40 and therefore has the obsolete name of adult onset-type diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can result from genetics defects that cause both insulin resistance and insulin deficiency. There are two main forms of type 2 diabetes:
1. Late onset associated with obesity.
2. Late onset not associated with obesity.
Sample meal plan
Choose foods you like and which satisfy you, and include carbohydrate foods in each meal or snack to help manage blood glucose levels. You can eat your main meal at lunch or dinner.
Get help immediately if Diabetes symptoms occur
Occasionally, the onset of diabetes – particularly Type 1 – can be abrupt. It can lead to a condition called ‘keto acidosis’, which is a medical emergency. The symptoms of this condition are loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, excessive passing of urine, altered consciousness and, finally, coma. Seek medical help immediately if these symptoms occur.