Diabetes is the name given to several complications arising from high blood sugar levels. It is among the leading causes of death worldwide. The number of people affected by this disease has risen sharply in the 21st century, with the latest WHO statistics indicating that up to 422 million people are living with this condition. This increase has been attributed to poor dietary habits, excessive smoking, and physical inactivity.
Diabetes occurs in 3 forms;
1. Type 1 Diabetes – This form of diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin, which is the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar. A person suffering from this type of diabetes has to manually deliver insulin into the bloodstream through injections or insulin pumps.
2. Type 2 Diabetes – This is the most common form of this disease, accounting for almost 90% of diabetes cases. In type 2 diabetes, insulin is produced normally by the body. The cells however fail to respond to the insulin, leading to uncontrolled fluctuations in the blood sugar levels. It is associated with poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, lack of exercise and excessive body weight brought about by a poor diet.
3. Gestational Diabetes – This type of diabetes only occurs among pregnant women. It is caused by hormonal imbalance brought about by pregnancy and it is not life-threatening. This type of diabetes however poses more danger to the unborn baby who might end up with an abnormal birth weight and may develop type 2 diabetes later in their life.
SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES
The symptoms of all types of diabetes are usually similar. These symptoms can be classified as either short term or long term.
Short term symptoms;
1. Increase urine production causing frequent urination
2. Excessive feelings of thirst
3. Blurred vision
4. Persistent headaches
5. Constant fatigue
Long term symptoms;
1. Rapid unexplained weight loss
2. Deteriorating eyesight
3. Slow healing of wounds leading to formation of ulcers
4. Kidney and cardiovascular disease
There is no proven way of preventing type 1 diabetes since it is mostly caused by congenital and genetic disorders. Type 2 and gestational diabetes can, however, be avoided by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Obesity is known to be a leading cause of diabetes. Maintaining a healthy body weight is necessary. This can be done through avoiding excessive sugar and fats and engaging in some form of physical activity for a total of about 90 minutes daily. Tobacco use is also linked to onset of diabetes and smoking should be reduced or avoided altogether.
MANAGEMENT AND TREATMENT
The methods used to treat diabetes vary, with the type of diabetes and extent of the disease being the factors that determine the treatment approach. The most common method of treating diabetes is through administering insulin into the bloodstream through injections or pumps. Weight loss procedures and diet plans can also be recommended in managing this disease. If you have diabetes, your physician will prescribe the most suitable treatment option recommended. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of diabetes is crucial for survival. Most fatal cases of diabetes occur due to delayed treatment. If diagnosed early, diabetes can be properly managed or even fully treated. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advisable to consult a physician to examine your blood sugar and determine whether you may be developing diabetes.
*The author of this blog is not a medical professional and this article does not contain professional medical advice. This blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the contents of this article. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.