Diabetes is very Preventable!
A lot of awareness needs to be created for diabetes because it's mortality rate increases yearly. Diabetes knows no race, culture, gender or age. It currently kills more people than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Its one nasty silent killer I'll try my best to explain in the simplest form possible.
Diabetes Mellitus or Diabetes as it is popularly known is the inability of the body to
properly maintain the blood sugar level. It's either the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar levels) or the body doesn't respond properly to the insulin produced.
There are many types of diabetes but we'll be discussing the four major ones today.
Type 1 Diabetes
This is when the body loses its ability to produce insulin. This is mostly a result of an auto-immune attack, that leads to the loss of insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This happens randomly(even to people who are not obese); it mostly occurs in children and young adults and it accounts for about 10% of the total recorded diabetes cases in the world. This type of diabetes is mostly inherited or can be a result of some defective genes. Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented but can be successfully managed.
Type 2 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is when the body becomes resistant to insulin. Sometimes, the body has more blood sugar or glucose, and the insulin produced just isn't enough to control it. Over time, this causes type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes can also be hereditary but it's much more susceptible to the lifestyle we live. At the early stages, this can be combated through medications that improve insulin sensitivity. This type accounts for about 90% of the total diabetes cases recorded in the world which is sad because this type of diabetes is preventable.
This is quite similar to type 2( involving inadequate insulin) diabetes and it occurs in about 4% of all pregnancies. It is likely to totally disappear after pregnancy;However, after pregnancy about 5-10% of the women develop type 2 diabetes if they don't work with their health care personnel to closely monitor their blood sugar. This type of diabetes if left untreated or not properly managed, leads to serious health complications for both mother and child.
This is a stage where the blood sugar in the body is elevated, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. A lot of potential type 2 diabetes patients spend about 2 to 5 years in this stage. If blood sugar is monitored at this stage and prediabetes is noticed, some changes in day to day lifestyle can eliminate the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is primarily diagnosed by blood tests. There are different types of blood tests to diagnose the various types of diabetes so visit your doctor to know the appropriate tests you need to take.
The basic symptoms of untreated diabetes are weight loss, increased urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, blurry vision, fatigue; and cuts and bruises taking very long to heal. Symptoms in type 1 can be sudden, symptoms in type 2 develop very slowly and sometimes are totally absent.
Some people never even find out they have type 2 diabetes until it has progressed to other long term complications like cardiovascular diseases, damage to the eye, kidney and nerves,and many other complications.
Low blood sugar is another complication of all types of diabetes. This is when the level of blood sugar in the body declines to a very low level. This could be as a result of the different methods used to control the blood sugar in a diabetic patient;that sometimes it declines and becomes a health threat. Some cases can be mild and countered with the ingestion of any substance that's high in sugar. Some cases are also considered a medical emergency when the patient experiences seizures, unconsciousness, trembling and sweating and (rarely) permanent brain damage or death.
Methods of Treatment
Diabetes is basically treated by giving insulin and oral medications. Type 1 Diabetes is treated by administering either injectable or synthetic insulin.
Type 2 is treated by administering drugs that work to reduce the level of blood sugar. A good example is metformin (which works by decreasing the liver's production of glucose).
Weight loss Surgery can be performed on patients who are obese and cannot control their weight or blood sugar.Such patients can end up living a medication free life after surgery, as long as they follow their doctor's life style advice.
Pancreas replacement surgery can also be performed on type 1 diabetic patients who have severe complications like kidney damage which require kidney transplant.
Prevention, Management and Lifestyle
There is no proven prevention for type 1 diabetes. Type 2 can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in physical activity, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and cutting down on the intake of sugar helps on the long run. Maintaining a normal body weight and cutting down on intake of saturated fats is also very helpful.
The key to properly managing diabetes is to keep the blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. This can be tricky because in a bid to keep the blood sugar down, it could totally decline and go into low blood sugar.
Not all obese people develop diabetes, however this is a risk factor and may lead to diabetes when other risk factors are put in place.
Properly educating patients about diabetes greatly helps in management because it teaches them danger signs to look out for in their body, as well as ways to help improve their lifestyle.
Proper maintenance of diabetes can be achieved with good nutrition diets, exercising, weight loss and appropriate medication. Patients who maintain these four steps improve their chances of living longer and healthier.
I recently read the statistics of diabetes and it is indeed overwhelming. A lot of people do not know that the little day to day actions they take can make or break their future. Diabetes is a chronic disease as the life expectancy of a diabetic is about 10 years shorter than others. It saddens me that the rate of people with type 2 and prediabetes increases yearly even though little life changes can prevent this.
If you know anyone who has diabetes, please endeavour to show some extra care and love. Diabetes can be emotionally draining and downgrading. It hurts more if a diabetic patient feels he has no one to talk to who truly understands what is going on.
Thank you for reading.
This week is going to be a busy week on my blog as i have a couple of other medical workshops I'll be attending, of which I'll also be blogging about.
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Diabetes Workshop lecture by
Prof. Dr. L O Joseph( Phd, Mfr)