Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that ranks 7th as the leading cause of death among Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes can be acquired through genetics and lifestyle. It is characterized by a high blood glucose or blood sugar level in the body. Diabetes happens when the body is unable to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar or if the cells inadequately react to the insulin produced by the body. It is a long-term condition that requires maintenance treatment.
Diabetes care and treatment should start with prevention. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent the risks of diabetes or reduce the chance of its symptoms from occurring. Reversing diabetes is difficult, but It can be controlled through proper lifestyle, exercise and a healthy diet.
Types of diabetes
Sugar is a source of energy fuelling the body to carry out its normal physiological functions. The sugar consumed goes through the process of breaking down into energy through the bloodstream. However, too much sugar can result to sugar overload that can stress the body's internal organs. Thus, the body needs insulin in order to control and regulate the amount of sugar in the body. In diabetes, the pancreas is incapable of producing enough insulin in the body (type 1 diabetes) or the body lacks the ability of using insulin (Type 2 diabetes).
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes affects at least 10% of people who has diabetes. This type of diabetes happens when the body has no enough insulin to use in order to control the blood sugar level. Children who have diabetes usually fall under this type and they are treated with regular insulin injection to regulate their blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes also affects adults with a higher prevalence as they reach the age of 30's or 40's. Insulin therapy is usually prescribed in order to help meet the insulin supply that the body needs for proper functioning. Glycemic control and self monitoring are also taught in order to help the patient understand about the proper care he needs.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes that affects 90% of people with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes happens when there is no enough insulin produced by the pancreas. People with type 2 diabetes are subject to maintenance like medicines or insulin to keep their blood sugar at a normal level. A carefully planned diet and enough exercise can help enhance the body's metabolic activity. Proper diet and nutrition are also required for proper weight management among the diabetics.
Gestational diabetes happens to pregnant women at a rate of 2 to 10 percent all over the world. A woman who is not diabetic by nature may develop this type of illness during pregnancy. During pregnancy, there is an increased change of female hormones that can affect the responsiveness of the cells to insulin. When they become less responsive, blood sugar shoots up causing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually disappears after childbirth, but the risk of having it again on the next pregnancy is high. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are required to observe a healthy meal plan, get enough exercise and take the prescribed medication to help control their blood sugar level throughout pregnancy.
Diabetic care and treatment
- Exercise regularly
Exercise is effective in lowering the blood sugar in the body. It has a weight loss benefit and helps to improve the blood circulation that reduces the blood pressure in the body. Walking or jogging at least 30 minutes a day will help you regulate your blood sugar level, which is effective in diabetes control and blood sugar management.
- Eat healthy and well balanced diet
Avoid eating too salty or sugary food. Foods high in carbohydrates can lead to high blood sugar if not properly digested by the body. Alcohol drinks with sugar content can also risk increasing the blood sugar level. An ideal diet consists of foods rich in fiber and protein. Skip vogue diets, but stick to healthy eating instead. Some fad diets lack the necessary nutrients your body needs to perform normally. Do not eat too much food in one sitting. Try to eat normally to keep the blood sugar at a normal range.
- Keep your weight down
People who are overweight have a higher risk of getting diabetes than those who maintain their normal weight. Engaging in a regular exercise program is very helpful, but make sure to consult your doctor what type of exercise is best and safe for your diabetes.
When to seek your doctor's help
If you notice the following symptoms, consult your doctor for a check-up to confirm whether these are signs of a diabetes.
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexpected weight loss
- Extreme thirst
- Fatigue and weakness
Diabetes complications and management
- Kidney disease
Kidney disease is composed of filters made of blood vessels. These filters are responsible in screening toxins in the body. When there is an overload of blood sugar in the system, this can damage these filters that will eventually damage the kidneys. Controlling the blood sugar level will help protect kidney against damage and complications.
- Eye / vision problems
High blood sugar can result in visual or eye problems. The most common are cataracts and glaucoma. People at the age of 60 or older have a higher risk of developing this complication of diabetes and a regular eye check-up will help you learn the proper eye care to delay or prevent the visual problems in diabetes.
- Delayed wound healing
Wounds that don't heal or takes longer than the normal time to heal is considered to be one of the complications of diabetes. Skin problems as well as fungal infections will also likely to develop. Proper skin care is important and seeing your doctor for proper wound treatment is your best option.