What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy, with high blood sugar levels. It is characterized by insufficient production or ineffective use of insulin, a hormone that helps glucose from food enter cells for energy. The condition leads to potential damage to nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs if untreated.
Types of diabetes
- Type 1 - Is an autoimmune system. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where this hormone called insulin is made. Studies and Researches show that about 10% of people with diabetes have this type.
- Type 2 – This condition occurs when your body is resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood.
- Prediabetes – This condition occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational Diabetes – This condition arises in high blood sugar during pregnancy. Insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
The general symptoms include:-
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Sores that don’t heal
These are long-term problems that can gradually lead to life-threatening situations and serious damage which include:-
- Heart attack and Stroke - When you have diabetes, high blood sugar for a period of time can damage your blood vessels. This can sometimes lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Nephropathy or Kidney disease - Diabetes can cause damage to your kidneys over a long period of time making it harder to clear extra fluid and waste from your body. This is caused by high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. It is known as diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease.
- Nerve Damage or Neuropathy
Some people with diabetes may develop nerve damage caused by complications of high blood sugar levels. This can make it harder for the nerves to carry messages between the brain and every part of our body so it can affect how we see, hear, feel and move
- Retinopathy or Eye Problems
Some people with diabetes develop an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy which can affect their eyesight. If retinopathy is picked up – usually from an eye screening test - it can be treated and sight loss prevented.
- Foot Problems
Diabetes foot problems are serious and can lead to amputation if untreated. Nerve damage can affect the feeling in your feet and raised blood sugar can damage the circulation, making it slower for sores and cuts to heal. That’s why it’s important to tell your GP if you notice any change in how your feet look or feel.
These can happen at any time and may lead to chronic, or long-term, complications.
- Hypos – when your blood sugars are too low
- Hypers – when your blood sugars are too high
- Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State - a life-threatening emergency that only happens in people with type 2 diabetes. Some causes are severe dehydrationa and high blood sugar.
- Diabetic Ketoacidosisy – a life-threatening emergency where the lack of insulin and high blood sugars leads to a build-up of ketones.
As we are very much aware of the great saying that, “Prevention is better than Cure”. Some preventions are:
- Quit or Stop Smoking
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet
- Do more physical activities including Exercises or Yoga, etc.