Diabetes is one of the chronic diseases where it is a big problem in most countries of the world. Diabetes is a condition in which the level of sugar in your blood is higher than usual. It is one of the main factors for getting a heart attack or stroke.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas no longer produces insulin or the body cannot use its insulin effectively. The food we eat will turn into sugar in our bodies. Insulin will be used to carry sugar in the bloodstream into cells and tissues, where it will be used to supply energy. When there is a lack of insulin, sugar cannot be carried into the cells and tissues, so the body's sugar level will increase. This will damage the cells that need glucose for energy and damage the organs and tissues exposed to high levels of glucose.
Types of diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 - "Diabetes or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus" (Insulin-dependent)
o Usually occurs in children and adolescents
o Usually unable to produce insulin
Type 2-"Diabetes or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus" (insulin-independent)
o The most common type is found, and more than 90% of people with diabetes are of this type.
o Often in older and overweight people.
However, another type of group of individuals is on the verge of high sugar levels, known as the Impaired Glucose Tolerance or IGT group.
Diabetes during pregnancy is a problem of high sugar content in the blood that occurs when a woman is pregnant and has not had Type 1 or 2 Diabetes Mellitus disease before. It may occur due to the reaction of insulin to hormones produced by the placenta during the pregnancy process
What are the warning signs of diabetes?
Diabetes often occurs silently, especially in the early stages. However, the common symptoms are:
- Thirst/thirst (excessive thirst)
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Weak muscles
Other symptoms include:
- People with chronic skin diseases
- Wounds that heal slowly
- Frequent urination
- Itching in the genital area
Don't rely on symptoms to know you have diabetes. Run the test at a nearby health clinic.
Who is at high risk for getting diabetes?
Anyone regardless of age can get diabetes. However, you have a high risk of developing diabetes if you have the following:
- Aged 35 years or older. The older you get, the higher your risk of developing diabetes
- Overweight or obesity. The more weight you gain, the higher your risk of developing diabetes.
- Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
- Family background with diabetes
- History of diabetes in last pregnancy.
- History of having a large baby (birth weight is 4.0 kg or more).
- High blood pressure
- Inactive -sedentary lifestyle
- Nutritional factors -Intake of high-fat foods and less intake of fibrous foods
- High fat/ cholesterol levels.
If you think you are at high risk for diabetes, call a nearby health clinic.
Complications of diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic problem and can affect many organs depending on blood sugar control. Without proper management, it can lead to various cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage.
- Hypoglycaemia is when blood sugar levels are low. You will experience headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, shaking hands and sweating. You may faint or have seizures if your sugar content is too low
- Diabetes Ketoacidosis is a severe condition when sugar levels are too high. (This usually means you are lacking in insulin). It can also be caused by stress, infection, injury, medication use or ward admission for stroke or heart disease. You will experience drowsiness and unconsciousness.
- Hyperglycaemia is when blood sugar levels are high. You will experience drowsiness and unconsciousness
Prolonged high blood sugar content (Chronic)
This causes long-term damage:
Cataracts, bleeding in the eyes and causing blindness
Numbness or loss of sense of taste in the hands and feet where the patient can get injured unnoticed. This can lead to sores on the legs and gangrene. If degraded, it may be necessary to perform amputation surgery to prevent the infection from spreading throughout the body.
The good news is that if you can control diabetes well, this will help prevent or slow down complications
What should I do to prevent getting diabetes?
Good diabetes control is that you can control blood sugar levels approaching normal levels. This can be achieved with the following methods:
- Control food intake
Eat a balanced diet because excessive food intake will increase blood sugar levels
- Do physical exercise
Exercise can lower blood sugar and help insulin work more effectively. Exercise can also help you lose weight.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you need insulin injections.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may only need to take hypoglycaemia medication to lower your blood sugar levels and some may require insulin injections.
Even if you have diabetes, you can still lead a normal and active life.
Take care of yourself.
- Take a shower every day
- Dry all body parts thoroughly
- Treat wounds and scratches promptly
- See a doctor if the wound does not heal after 2 - 3 days.
- Wash feet daily
- Dry all parts of the feet thoroughly, especially between the toes
- Check your feet daily for cuts, scratches, burns or any skin discolouration.
- Cut toenails straight
- Change your socks daily
- Do not walk without shoes outside the house
- Always wear shoes that are soft and suitable for outdoor use.
- Supervise yourself
You are encouraged to monitor your blood glucose alone. Regularly checking your blood glucose levels can tell how effective you are in controlling diabetes
- Have regular eye examinations
- Avoid alcohol
- Stop smoking
What should I do to avoid getting diabetes?
Diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle:
- Eating nutritious foods and controlled calories can help control blood sugar levels, maintain weight, control cholesterol levels, reduce high blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
- Exercise can improve fitness, burn calories and therefore can reduce body fat and control your weight. Exercise lowers blood sugar levels and helps your body to use blood sugar properly.
- Studies show obesity is linked to diabetes. Maintain a superior weight