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Diabetes is a condition wherein your blood glucose (blood sugar) is higher than the normal values

Beating Diabetes | February 8, 2019

Diabetes is a condition wherein your blood glucose (blood sugar) is higher than the normal values due to

  • Less amount of insulin hormone, which converts glucose into usable energy (type I diabetes commonly seen in children, teenagers and young adults) Or
  • Inappropriate actions of insulin (type II diabetes commonly occurring in adults aged 40 years and above).

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms are a result of persistent high blood sugar over a period of time.

  • Most do not present with any symptoms
  • Extreme thirst and hunger, frequent urination, increased tiredness
  • Significant weight loss, impaired healing of wounds, numbness, tingling sensation of the extremities, blurring of vision.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is based on the history and mostly on the following routine blood tests. Values in the brackets are the criteria for diagnosing the disease.

  • FBS or fasting blood sugar (? 126 mg/dl)
  • PPBS or post prandial blood sugar (? 200 mg/dl)
  • RBS or random blood sugar (? 200 mg/dl)

Another blood test - “glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c”, monitors your sugar level over a period of previous 3 months. Similarly blood sugar can also be checked in the urine.

Complications

Diabetes is associated with many complications ranging from infections to heart diseases.

  • Cardiovascular diseases: chest pain, heart attack, stroke, gangrene of peripheries.
  • Diabetic neuropathy causing damage to the nerves leading to loss of sensation and pain, diabetic retinopathy affecting the eye leading to blurred vision, black spots, etc. and diabetic nephropathy affecting the normal functions of the kidneys.
  • Infections: Infections indicate poor control of diabetes.

Management

As there is no absolute cure for diabetes, management aims at controlling diabetes (by maintaining blood sugar at normal levels) and appropriate care of body parts to prevent complications.

Strict blood sugar -control through medications (insulin injections and oral tablets) and lifestyle modifications.

Lifestyle modifications

  • Regular physical activity
  • Dietary modifications - eating small frequent meals, avoiding high calorie foods like chocolates, sweets and other junk foods.
  • Avoid smoking and abstinence or limit the use of alcohol.

Eye and foot care: regular eye check-ups at least once a year. Use appropriate foot wears to avoid injuries.

Avoiding complications: Track your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, ECG examination as per your doctor’s advice, blood tests to assess kidney functions, etc.

Tackling the Risk Factors with Positive Attitude

Genetics, family history, obesity and sedentary lifestyle are some of the common risk factors. People are often of the wrong opinion that “Since my mother and grandmother are diabetic, I will also get diabetes no matter what. Then, why should I change my lifestyle?” It is very essential to understand that by inculcating healthy lifestyle behaviour, be it eating right or exercising hard, one can not only delay the onset of the disease, but may also prevent it. This is also true for patients with Prediabetes, a condition wherein your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose it as diabetes.

We hope this information helps you manage diabetes efficiently and lead a healthy, normal life.

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