Diabetes, termed as Diabetes mellitus in medical terminology is a metabolism related disorder characterized by destabilizing levels of gluocose in bloodstream.
With 42 million people already in its grudges, diabetes has justified it’s position as the most common disease in today’s society, worldwide. This number is yet to inflate more by the end of 2024. The statics could be comprehended somewhat as 4 out of every 5 people will be diabetics.
Even today, at least one member in every family is diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. You can analyze your own case in this context. Are we guessing it right? The impact is in such a way that more and more people are switching towards the use of sugar-free foodstuffs.
The market for calorie-free sweeteners is already on fire and will extend further in the coming years too. The huge count of diabetic individuals in India and abroad laid a necessity to emphasize its causes, symptoms, tests, and treatments in a most accurate manner.
Creating awareness on a large scale to make it noticeable by the people and masses everywhere on the topic of immediate concern. Because this disease is not confined to any particular age, gender, blood group, country and so on. It can happen to anyone irrespective of other variables.
It further intensifies the need for addressing all the speculations linked with the disease with proper and authentic information. By doing so, people can up with the rightful measures towards timely prevention and control of this ever increasing disease.
Types of diabetes
Diabetes is classified into four gross categories.
Pre-diabetes – as the name clarifies, this is the stage prior to the onset of actual diabetes. This means a person is just on the verge of formulating diabetes. One side takes to large doses of medicines and the other side leads to a healthy diet with some restrictions, good amount of physical exercise. The choice is still there.
The optimistic facet remains that prediabetes is completely curable and person can successful curb the circumstances towards prosperous life with no place for diabetes medicines. Of course, this requires a lot of discipline, fixed diet patterns, appropriate exercise and other prescriptions by the specialists for some duration.
Type 1 diabetes – the less common but still dreadful when occur. The body is deprived of insulin production. Insulin, the key hormone of carbohydrate metabolism is synthesized by the pancreas.
Due to some unknown auto-immune causes, beta cells of the pancreas which are the major arena for producing insulin get destroyed. The supply of insulin in the body is greatly suppressed and this eventually leads to a heightening of blood sugar levels. Such a category of people frequently needs insulin doses to keep up with blood glucose metrics.
Type 2 diabetes – this is the most common class of diabetes in the present day scenario.
The spec which alienates type 2 diabetes from type 1 is that here body continues to produce insulin but unfortunately, not in sufficient amounts. Comparatively less magnitude of insulin is generated than that in the body of a normal healthy individuals.
Often, in this case, the body develops insulin resistance. The further scenario is such that excess glucose persisting in the blood is not taken up by the cells. The cells are deprived of energy as well as sugar levels of the body are extremely high. This is the most feared dual disadvantage of type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes – diabetes which only marks its onset in pregnant women and not in any other person. pregnancy arrives with multifarious changes in the physiology of the body functions. The body witness an enormous change in the hormonal count, developmental processes and some morphological changes do occur.
How will you come to know whether you or any of your acquaintances are falling probe to diabetes? There are some quite apparent commonly felt symptoms to recognize the need for diagnosis and check ups.
Feeling thirsty: because your body is unable to regulate sugars in a proper way.
Frequent urination: because kidneys fail to cope up with excessive blood glucose.
Tiredness and fatigue: because body cells are starved of energy. They are unable to absorb glucose.
Bloating: due to inefficient digestive functions. Food remains in the stomach for longer hours resulting in aches.
Weight loss: natural starvation faced by body cells as all the glucose is either remaining in blood or flushed out without absorption by the kidneys.
Blurred vision: this is a combined consequence of diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy. Gradual healing of wounds: due to poor blood circulation prompted by high blood sugar.
A sudden outburst of sores and blisters: the exact cause is yet to be discovered but diabetes triggers certain integumentary problems.
There are some gender specific symptoms in both men and women. The general symptoms as discussed above are common to every individual.
Diabetes leads to decreases stamina and sexual reluctance in men. Some cases may involve erection dysfunctions and decrement in muscle strength.
Women highly become vulnerable to urinary tract infections during the dominance of diabetes. Infections in the vagina, ovary, and birth canal can be significant signs for seeking immediate medical attention.
Furthermore, the skin may turn dry along with itchiness. Mood swings too become apparent.
Lesser Known diabetes symptoms
Diabetes does have some lesser know symptoms too. Not every patient or person is aware of such uncertainties. These are;
- Chest pains
- Nervous disorders
- Gum diseases
- Skin tags
- Acanthosis nigricans
- Bullosis diabetricorum
- Eruptive xanthomatosis
- Hearing loss
Get detailed insights about lesser Know signs and warnings for type 2 diabetes
Causes of diabetes
By now, you are already familiar with different types of diabetes, each one of which is triggered by a different cause. This cause actually forms the basis for the classification of this disease.
Type 1 – due to reasons which are yet to be discovered, this occurs when the immune system attacks beta cells of the pancreas which are major sites of insulin production in the human body. The exact cause of this auto immune disease still lies unclear and is currently under research by the experts of the field.
Type 2 – either body fails to produce enough insulin or lacks sensitivity towards the action of insulin. There are many reasons concluded by researchers for such a widespread prevalence of type 2 diabetes, the accusing fingers prominently point towards genetic and lifestyle factors.
People who find themselves in agreement with the following criteria must be more cautious with the risk for developing type 1 diabetes;
- Being obese
- Being above the age of 45
- Having parents or siblings with type 2 diabetes
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle with less physical activities
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High triglycerides count
- If diagonosed with prediabetes
- Have suffered gestational diabetes during pregnancy
Gestational diabetes – The most pragmatic change is the formulation of important tissue placenta which forms a bridge between the body of the mother and growing child. Placenta produces several hormones essential for the healthy grooming of a fetus. Now, as a fetus grows, the placenta produces more and more hormones. These placental hormones prompt for rising in blood sugar levels. This process continues for months and ultimately comes a stage when the blood sugar range of body surpasses the safe limits. This marks the onset of gestational diabetes.
This could be controlled by taking into consideration some gross measures like proper weight management prior to diabetes and getting more alert if the women are already suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Women are at high risk and must plan a mandatory appointment with the healthcare providers if;
- You are overweight
- Your age is more than 25 years
- You developed gestational diabetes in the previous term too.
- You have a family history of women suffering from the same disease
- You are diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome
The chances for the occurrence of strokes and cardiac arrest increases four folds. Angina is also the threatening factor which readily comes into effect in most of the cases.
Several nerve bundles of the body, notably those which form a part of the peripheral nervous system get damaged.
The term is given to the condition when nerve supplies of the eye are affected and injured due to hyperglycemic conditions.
The results can be diminishing of vision, blurred image formation and eyes get swollen too.
The word nephro relates to kidneys in every context. Diabetic nephropathy is when kidneys fail to function optimally as a result of high blood sugar. Clinically, this can be tested when urine contains proteins that get leaked by defective kidneys. The most visible symptoms are swelling in the lower part of the legs and loss of appetite.
Skin infections become common. The situation can be accompanied by sudden outbursts of blisters, round and small or large which don’t heal easily. Though they are painless but worrisome. Thankfully, there are ample lotions and ointments available in the market for the revival of the same.
Stress can cause diabetes as well as can be the outcome of diabetes. Diabetic patient often feels tired all day long but one should try to be optimistic as much as he/she can. This can be done through proper exercise and meditation which expels out negative vibes out if body and confers soothing effect to the mind.
Diabetic foot diseases are as common as diabetes itself. The thing is that the majority of people fail to realize that these weird symptoms can be an undesired invite for diabetes. It can be anything like pains, corns, calluses, swelling, cracks around heels, open sores, fungus growth and change in skin color.
Very much similar to Alzheimer’s disease in terms of symptoms, dementia is a miserable health condition when a person is subjected to memory loss and unable to make judgments. The causes can be many. Diabetes is one of them. Prolonged diabetes is an even more crucial situation as it opens the door for the numbness to walk through.
Never let your body become depleted of water. During this, kidneys secrete hormones that further concentrate sugars leading to sky-high blood sugar levels. Keep drinking water at regular intervals and carry a water bottle while traveling anywhere.
Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome
The times when blood sugar levels reach beyond 600mg/dL are massively dangerous. This excessive metric turns blood thicker and into syrupy form. The condition is more likely to develop on people with age of more than 40 years. The symptoms felt are extreme thirst and drying of mouth, drowsiness, and convulsions.
When cells run out of energy, the body starts burning stored fats to fulfill the energy demands. This brings another trouble to the view. When fats are broken, they produce acids. These acids are ketones that have disastrous effects on health. Vomiting, fatigue and shortened breath are visible signs of the calamitous condition. DKA is more associated with people with type 1 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes concerns
When blood sugar gets uncontrollably high during pregnancy, then some exceptional complications arrive which are not seen in the case of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
These hardships can be any among the following;
- Poor mental development of infant
- Shoulder dystocia
- Organ disfigurement in babies
- Respiratory disorders in babies
- Abnormal delivery of child
- Excess birth weight
- Premature deliveries
Get a more detailed picture of diabetic complications during gestational diabetes.
Underlying effects of diabetes and it’s association with other chronic diseases
The moment people read the word ‘diabetes’, the view created in their subconscious mind is that of high blood sugar levels. But it’s not simply a rise in blood sugar levels. It fetches a number of other ill effects.
Diabetes and high blood pressure
It becomes extremely important to gain control over your blood pressure levels, especially if you are a short-tempered person. You desperately need to meditate dear!
Every time your blood pressure rises, your risk for damaging your health rises as well. About three-fourth of the people with type 1 diabetes and one-fourth of the people with type 2 diabetes suffer diabetic hypertension.
Are you the one? Get yourself checked today. Diabetes deteriorate blood vessels, narrows and hardens them. This can further result in heart stroke and kidney failure.
Diabetes and high cholesterol
If you have any one between high blood sugar and high cholesterol, your condition is equally dangerous. Diabetes and high cholesterol favor each other, and the outcome is worsening of health in both cases. High blood sugars intend for the build-up of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. Triglycerides and other low-density lipids lead to diabetic dyslipidemia.
Diabetes and obesity
Obesity is the leading cause of the onset of diabetes across the globe. Overeating puts pressure on the endoplasmic reticulum, a subcellular organelle for processing more nutrients. Under this pressure, the ER emits out the signal for shutting off insulin receptors in cells. This directly leads to insulin resistance. And once the body develops resistivity towards insulin, your carbohydrate metabolism is going to be badly affected.
Diabetes and smoking
Yes, people who smoke always have a greater probability of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Not only cancer, but diabetes is also widely screened ailment in people who smoke. Moreover, smoking makes it hard for you to manage diabetes which otherwise can be done with ease. Like, if you have diabetes and still you smoke, then you are two times more likely to face crucial complications linked with diabetes.
Comon tests and diagonosis of diabetes
We should be thankful enough to the technical equipment and methodologies. These innovative techniques substantially present before us an accurate picture of what is happening with our blood sugar levels inside the body.
Whether there is a need to control the calories or not is clearly revealed to us. Some tests for diabetes require fasting for 8 hours before the diagnosis procedure begins whereas some do not. Oral glucose tolerance tests rewuires fasting before the precise results could be interpreted. However, there are some tests that don’t require fasting or going without eating food or drinking any liquid. Such are called random blood glucose tests.
Hemoglobin A1C test which is highly preferable by the physicians as the first step in diabetes diagnosis doesn’t comply with the need for fasting. The lipid profile test is yet another suitable way of figuring out the undesired rise of blood sugar. Gestational diabetes is successfully diagonosed by testing the readings two hours after drinking a specifically prepared glucose drink.
Besides, with the advent of home glucose monitoring kit, people can save time by avioding personal visits to the doctors. They can conveniently keep the track of their readings at the comfort of their houses and consult a doctor in case of any discrepancies. You should be well informed about when to approach a doctor.
Different types of diabetes require different drugs and doses depending upon how much your levels are increased, your age group, and if you are also suffering a disease other than diabetes. Whether you are allergic to a particular substance, everything matters while coming up with a stringent prescription. So never hide anything from your doctor and approach at the earliest possible.
Treatment for diabetes
The treatment depends on the type of diabetes one is suffering through. Each category of diabetes has it’s own causes, and therefore specific treatment therapies are undertaken to manage each type.
Type 1 diabetes
As type 1 diabetes makes a person deprived of insulin which is an extremely important hormone for the metabolic phenomenon of the body. Therefore a person is entitled to receive periodic bouts of insulin through injections and other means. Insulin therapy is the most effective method of replacing the function of natural body hormone.
Based on the patient’s need, anyone among the following four types of insulin is given intravenously.
- Rapid-acting insulin – this starts working 15 minutes after the intake and works efficiently for up to 4 hours.
- Short-acting insulin – the effect begins after 30 minutes of consumption and lasts for 7 to 8 hours with efficacy.
- Intermediate acting insulin – this usually commences the activity 1 hour after injecting. It remains potent for 15 to 18 hours.
- Long acting insulin – this gas the longest effectively working duration. It takes a few hours for this insulin to become active after consuming but effectiveness lasts for 24 hours.
Type 2 diabetes
The treatment of type 2 diabetes is mainly sustained by drugs and medicines. Although a balanced diet with appropriate exercise helps a lot, medications ensure the longevity and prosperity of the health of a diabetic individual.
The following nine categories of drugs are the most sought-after and commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals for diabetes.
Alpha glucosidase inhibitor
These slow down the catabolism of sugars in the body. Acarbose is an excellent example of this category.
Glucagon like proteinaceous drugs
These alters the way the body responds to insulin. Dulaglutide and liraglutide are the two most common and effective drugs pertaining to this category.
Their mode of action is the stimulation of the pancreas for enhanced insulin production. Some imperative medicines in this category are Nateglinide and Repaglinide.
This works by limiting the amount of production by the liver. Metformin, the widely used medicine by the diabetic folks falls under this.
It just aids insulin to work more exigent through improved sensitivity by the body. Resiglitazone and Pioglitazone are the most prodigious examples.
Dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP 4) inhibitor
It is known for stabilizing blood sugar levels and that too without diminishing them to extremely lower ranges. Sitagliptin used by patients is also a DPP4 inhibitor.
Sodium glucose transporter (SGL T2) inhibitor
This propels the body to release more and more excess glucose along with urine thereby lessening its impact in the bloodstream. Canagliflozin and Dapagliflozin are superior varieties of SGL inhibitors.
Their mode of action is the same as that of Meglitinides i.e., by stimulating pancreatic glands to increase the quantity of the hormone. The portentous drugs to illustrate are Glyburide, Glipizide, and Glimepuride.
Bile acid sequestrants
These mainly work by lowering cholesterol content and are partially effective for controlling all levels of blood sugar. This is usually taken in combination with other drugs. Colesevelam is one such medicine. There are some other treatments given to patients in extreme cases.
Insulin therapy – people with type 2 diabetes may also require insulin injections. There are varied forms and kinds of insulin and each one work in doing different mode. But generally preferred ones are long-acting insulin taken at night time, like Levemir and Lantus.
Bariatric surgery – this is a weight-loss oriented surgery performed on people with type 2 diabetes and body massage index greater than 35. The results of this surgery are much relieving and fruitful.
The critical complications can be controlled to a good extent through careful alterations in diet plans and prioritized physical exercises. When you are diagnosed with diabetes, usually during the third trimester, the doctor prescribes you specific medicines based on your own needs.
It will depend on how much amount of calories to be consumed, what to limit and what to shake hands with. The right kind of exercise and meditation therapies are essential for keeping away all the anomalies. There may emerge a requirement to check blood sugar reading 2-3 times a day. This ensures you are distant off from the occurrence of adverse health hardships.
Some expectant mother’s manage with diet and exercise alone but many develops the need to turn on to drugs and injections. For such situations, the two most commonly recommended drugs are metformin and Glibenclamide.
Metformin – increases insulin senstivity of body and reduces the amount of glucose produced by liver in the form of glucagon.
Glibenclamide – lowers blood sugar levels by triggering the release of insulin from pancreas in greater magnitudes.
If situation still remains out of control, then the alternative that has to be operated is the use of injections. Drugs can be consumed along with timely injectables for better hold over the glucose levels. These strategies and medications altogether help in conquering gestational diabetes. Also, if women already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is having gestation period, then also changes in diet, medication and exercises needs to be done. Your gynecologist will help you with this procedure.
Side effects of diabetes drugs
Most of the drugs often impel undesired side effects other than the main action. This is because drugs interact with more than one receptors on body. Just like medications used for HIV causes anemia, the one used for diabetes are no exception.
- Hypoglycemia is the broadly witnessed side effect of drugs like sulfonylureas and meglitinides.
- Stomach related problems, itchiness, dryness and mild sickness are another array of effects.
- Drugs like alpha-glucosidase inhibitors provoke bloating and diarrhea.
- Weight gain, anemia, dizziness and liver infections are some commonly observed cases.
The drugs that suits you best will depend upon your individual health traits. Your doctor will provide solutions to overcome all the possible side effects. If you still experience any of them, you must gear up for urgent medical advice.
Diabetes Prevention and Control
Since diabetes doesn’t have any permanent cure, it’s better to be alert and adopt preventive strategies beforehand.
It’s a well-understood caveat that while good food and good exercise synergies the diabetes treatment therapy, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels still remains the master weapon.
The measures which should be adopted by prediabetic and health-conscious people must be ;
- Involving physical exercises in daily routine
- Eating less dishes prepared with table sugar
- Wiping off some carbohydrates from plate and including more proteins
- Sugar-free natural sweetening agents which neither contains calories not cause any harmful side effects like development of tumors
- Replacing table sugar with coconut sugar and raw organic honey
- Limiting fruits with high glycemic index
- Avoiding packaged juices, snacks, candies, soda, caffeinated drinks and so on
Exclusive tip – if some day you really feel like eating sweets and delicacies, then start your day with drinking bitter gourd juice in the morning.
This juice is so effective in stabilizing blood sugar levels that even if you eat a bit more sweets and calories, you will not be facing much trouble. This tip can benefit you as in India, often the number of traditional desserts is prepared in homes on festivals and ceremonies. Don’t sacrifice those joyous moments but remember you dare not to take any sweet eatables in excessive amounts. Little bit of sweet can be bearable with the effect of juice but situation will slip out of hand if you fail to control your temptations.
Now, coming on to a healthy diet for flourishing diabetes management. The most suitable foods during diabetes are those which are low in carbohydrates and high in fibers. It is clear to every diabetic that blood sugar levels only go high if the intake of carbohydrates in the body is high. If you are daunting enough to cut off sweet from your meals, your chances of getting into hyperglycemic conditions eventually become very low.
The carbohydrates are essential as they are the prime source of energy for the entire functions of the body. Therefore, the foods with la ow glycemic index are the real game players here. Being low in glycemic index means releasing sugar at a lower rate into the bloodstream when they are consumed. Further, protein-rich menu like pulses and beans will be a great choice.
Exercises that can help to maintain blood sugar readings within a safe range involve many forms from swift walking, cycling, running, swimming to short term workouts, yoga, and deep breathing.
- Bottle gourd
- Bitter gourd
Other health-favoring foods
- Apple cider vinegar
- Greek yogurt
Know more about healthy food choices for diabetes. Know about the best diabetic diet during pregnancy.
Gaining a natural control over blood sugar levels
Not only allopathic but also ayurvedic system has bestowed upon us numerous boons through the analysis of naturally available products. These products are endowing the potential to beat diabetes with no side effects and in a cost-effective way. The contribution of nature is really huge in offering a victorious solution to counteract over the atrocious rule of elevated blood sugar.
There is a wide array of herbs, spices, and leaves which naturally stimulate glucose levels of blood towards the normal and safer range. Many of them have inherited surplus quantities of antioxidants, fibers, vitamins and chemical compounds which enormously favor better diabetic health. Such are;
- Guava leaf
- Mango leaf
- Inulin leaf
- Aloe vera
- Banaba leaf
- Ivy gourd
Read more about the miraculous properties of some remarkable leaves and spices.
The increase of diabetes at an alarming rate in present-day society has created the need for educating about it to more and more people. The disease is such a convoluted that many people fail to realize what all is happening with them and diabetes remains undiagnosed in them for years.
Initial symptoms are mild and hard to recognize, but once you notice any of them. Do not take it for granted at all. This can be you first clue indicating that medical attention is needed. The symptoms are many and you can experience any one or some of them. The causes are also countless. The disease can find it’s way up to you through any route. Our lifestyle had made it even more difficult to keep ourselves in safe zone. The only solution that seems practical is being watchful to blood sugar levels at regular intervals.
Either through visiting the nearby certified specialists or by getting home glucose monitoring kits. Even if things seems very entangled, there is atill always a way out of it. We are here to show you that way.
Knowledge is power. Having a basic knowledge about diabetes behavior within your body gives you the power to beat down this threatening disease.