What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that is termed to be a long-lasting disease or health condition that affects how your way body turns food into energy. Diabetes is a health condition that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. The hormone insulin moves sugar0020from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make. Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes will further lead to damage to your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs gradually.
Types of diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes - 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 diabetes – 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 of diabetes include:-
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Sores that don’t heal
Complications allied with diabetes:
Diabetes has two types of complications which include acute and chronic complications. The chronic complications are the serious ones that are build up over time whereas acute complications are the ones that can happen at any time.
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. It’s brought on by severe dehydration and very high blood sugars.
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis – a life-threatening emergency where the lack of insulin and high blood sugars leads to a build-up of ketones.
Preventions to be taken for diabetes
As we are very much aware of the great saying that, “Prevention is better than Cure”. So, here are a few preventions that are to be taken in order to get rid of diabetes which include:-
- Quit or Stop Smoking
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet
- Do more physical activities including Exercises or Yoga, etc.
Dr. Sreekanth Reddy Malikireddy, MBBS, FDiab