Diabetes - Overview

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar levels, leading to high glucose levels in the bloodstream. Diabetes requires careful management through medication, lifestyle changes, and regular monitoring to prevent complications and maintain overall health. With proper care and support, individuals with diabetes can lead active and fulfilling lives while effectively managing their condition.

Most of the food you consume is converted into sugar, specifically glucose, which is then released into your bloodstream. When the glucose level in your blood rises, it triggers the pancreas to produce and release insulin. Insulin functions as a key, allowing the entry of blood sugar into your body’s cells, where it can be utilized as an energy source.

Types of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder encompassing types, including Type 1, Type 2, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. Prediabetes is a stage with higher-than-normal blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and affects both adults and children, where the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t respond appropriately to it. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys insulin-producing cells, usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy but typically resolves after childbirth, though it increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes in the future.

Symptoms of Diabetes include

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts
  • Frequent skin and vaginal yeast infections

To diagnose diabetes
, your healthcare provider may recommend several tests. The first is the fasting blood Glucose test, which requires you to fast for at least 8 hours to obtain accurate results. This is because food intake can influence glucose levels. The second test is the random blood glucose test, which can be taken at any time without fasting. Lastly, the HbA1c test provides an average blood glucose level over the past two to three months, offering a broader picture of your blood sugar control. These tests collectively help in diagnosing and monitoring diabetes.

Diabetes management involves a comprehensive approach tailored to each individual’s needs. It includes regular blood sugar monitoring to assess treatment effectiveness, oral medications like metformin for Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or gestational diabetes, and insulin through injections, pens, pumps, or inhalation for those who require it. A healthy diet and meal planning are crucial components, and regular exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance. These strategies collectively form an effective management plan for diabetes.

Precautions to follow if you are diagnosed with prediabetes

  • Engage in aerobic exercises such as walking or cycling for a minimum of 30 minutes/day
  • Eliminate saturated and Trans fats from your diet, as well as refined carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Aim to lose 5% to 7% of your body weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Avoid smoking and Alcohol.
  • Manage your stress

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