Diabetes is a condition in which your blood glucose or sugar level is too high. Glucose is gotten from the breakdown of the food we eat. Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body is unable to produce any or enough insulin. This causes a rise in glucose levels in the blood.
Insulin helps control glucose levels in the blood. Once your blood glucose goes up, a signal is sent to your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps this glucose get to leave the blood and into your body for use as energy. Normal and diabetic blood sugar ranges from 4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L (72 to 99 mg/dL) when fasting. A reading of greater than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) after two hours indicates diabetes. A reading between 140 and 199 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L and 11.0 mmol/L) indicates prediabetes Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to chronic hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) which can ultimately cause serious damage to the body’s systems, mostly the nerves and blood vessels.
- 11th-century “water tasters” usually taste the urine of people thought to have diabetes. The diagnosis is given if the urine tasted sweet.
TYPES OF DIABETES
The three main types of diabetes include
1. Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs due to an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself). This also stops the body from making insulin. Approximately 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1 and it’s symptoms develops quickly. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults less than 30 years old. People who have type 1 diabetes will require daily insulin to survive.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
With type 2 diabetes, your body cannot use insulin therefore, the blood sugar cannot be kept at normal levels. About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (but over the years diagnosis have increased in children, teens, and young adults). Type 2 diabetes can be seen in people around 45 years and older, those who have a history of diabetes, or are overweight patients. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health conditions like high blood pressure can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is also common amongst women who had gestational diabetes when they were pregnant. Therefore, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes.
3. Gestational Diabetes
This type of diabetes occurs in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. When a woman is pregnant, her placenta releases hormones that help to sustain her pregnancy. This hormone can make your cells resistant to insulin. The pancreas tries to produce enough insulin to overcome the resistance but it cannot keep up with the demand. This will lead to glucose in the blood and less gets into the cells. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of your baby developing health problems and your baby could be much larger than average called “fetal macrosomia” (weighs more than 8 pounds 13 ounces, or 4,000 grams). Although it usually goes away after your baby is born, it also increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in the life of the mother and the child. These hormones make your cells more resistant to insulin.
SOME SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES.
- Excessive thirst
- Extreme hunger and increased appetite
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Weight loss
- Ketones are present in the urine (ketones are chemicals produced by the liver. They are usually produced when you do not have enough insulin in your body)
- Fatigue/ tiredness
- Slow-healing ulcers.
- Frequent infections.
Please see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms,
Some factors that increase the risk of diabetes include:
- Weight. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
- Physical Inactivity.
- Environmental factors
- Family history.
- Race or ethnicity.
- Gestational diabetes.
- High blood pressure
- Polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Cardiovascular disease: Diabetes increases the risk of various heart and blood vessel issues some of which include heart attack, stroke, and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Nerve damage (neuropathy): Excess sugar can deposit in the wall of small blood vessels. These vessels supply the nerves. When these vessels are damaged, nerves are injured mostly those on the legs. which can cause a tingling sensation, numbness, or burning pain. This nerve damage to the feet if left untreated can lead to injuries, cuts, blisters, and serious infections with poor healing ulcers. These infections may eventually lead to amputation of the toe, foot, or leg.
- With diabetes, there is increased susceptibility for skin infections such as bacterial and fungal infections.
- Kidney damage (nephropathy): Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease. This may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Diabetic retinopathy (Eye damage): Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina leading to blindness. Diabetes can also cause some other problems with vision, such as cataracts and glaucoma. If retinopathy is picked up on time (via an eye screening test) it can be treated and sight loss prevented.
- Hearing impairment.
Insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin therapy to survive. Most people with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes also need insulin therapy. Different types of insulin are available, they include
- Short-acting (regular insulin),
- Intermediate-acting insulin
- Rapid-acting insulin,
- Long-acting insulin.
Depending on your needs, your doctor may prescribe a mixture of insulin types to use throughout the day and night.
- Sulphonylureas: These are groups of drugs that increase insulin production by the pancreas. Some examples including chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (DiaBeta), nateglinide (Starlix), and repaglinide (Prandin).
- Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors: These group of Drugs help to decrease sugar absorption by the intestines, such as acarbose (Precose) and miglitol(Glyset)
- Glitazones: These drugs help improve how the body uses insulin. Examples include pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone(Avandia)
- Metformin(Glucophage): This drug decreases sugar production by the liver and improves insulin resistance. Metformin causes weight loss and it is a good way to return the blood sugars back to normal.
- DPP-4 Inhibitors and GLP-1 Analogs: These drugs increase insulin release by the pancreas or reduce sugar production from the liver. Examples include alogliptin (Nesina), dulaglutide (Trulicity), linagliptin (Tradjenta), saxagliptin(Onglyza), semaglutide (Ozempic), and sitagliptin (Januvia), exenatide (Byetta), liraglutide (Victoza).
- Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors: These are drugs that increase glucose excretion and blocks its reabsorption by the kidney. They are canaglifozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin(Farxiga), empagliflozin (Jardiance), and ertugliflozin (Steglatro).
PREVENTION AND CONTROL
- Exercise regularly/ engage in physical activity
- Eat healthy meals
- Try to maintain healthy body weight
- Avoid smoking
- Reduce intake of sugar and refined carbs
- Eat meals that are high in fiber.
In conclusion, living a healthy and balanced life can go a long way to protect your health.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical care, diagnosis, or treatment. it is intended for informational purposes only. Ensure you seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or in the case of a medical emergency.