What is Diabetes? D2G Explains!!!

Hello Friends. We usually hear people saying “I have high Sugar”. “I have to take Sugar Tablet before meals”. “Don’t put Sugar in Tea”. “Please take the sweets. I should not eat.” “I have to take Insulin.” Most of the people use the term SUGAR for DIABETES.

Nowadays “Diabetes” has become a very common problem. It is everywhere.  What is Diabetes? What causes Diabetes? What are it’s types? Can it be cured? Can it be prevented? What is Insulin?

This Article is going to answer all the above questions.

What is Diabetes?

In simple words, Diabetes means the level of glucose in blood is too high. Blood always has some glucose in it because human body needs glucose for energy. But too much of glucose in the blood isn’t good for health.

How Glucose enters the body?

Glucose comes from the food we eat and is also made in our liver and muscles. Blood carries the glucose to all of the cells in human body.

What is Insulin? What is it’s role?

Insulin is a chemical (a hormone) made by pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood. Insulin helps the glucose from food get into the cells.

If the body does not make enough insulin or if the insulin doesn’t work the way it should, glucose can’t get into the cells. It stays in the blood itself. Then the blood glucose level then gets too high, causing pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Glucose is present in foods such as breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yoghurt and sweets. When our body is not producing enough Insulin, the glucose can’t be converted into energy.

What are the Types of Diabetes?

There are three main kinds of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. The result of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the same: glucose builds up in the blood, while the cells are starved of energy.

Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • It develops most often in young people. However, type 1 diabetes can also develop in adults.
  • In this form of diabetes, the human body no longer makes insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin because the immune system has attacked and destroyed the insulin-producing cells.
  • About 5 to 10 percent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

People with type 1 diabetes depend on insulin every day of their lives to replace the insulin the body cannot produce. They must test their blood glucose levels several times throughout the day.

The onset of type 1 diabetes typically occurs in people under 30 years, but can occur at any age. About 10-15% of all cases of diabetes are type 1.

Type 2 Diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas.
  • Type 2 diabetes also has strong genetic and family related risk factors.
  • Type 2 Diabetes is diagnosed when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (reduced insulin production) and/or the insulin does not work effectively and/or the cells of the body do not respond to insulin effectively (known as insulin resistance).

Medication in the form of tablets is often required to reduce the resistance to insulin or to stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin.

Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in people over age 40 who are overweight, but it can occur in people who are not overweight. In the past, it was referred to as “adult-onset diabetes,” but now it has started to appear more often in children because of the rise in obesity in young people.

What si Diabetes

Image Courtesy : Diabesteszone

Gestational Diabetes
  • Some women develop gestational diabetes during the late stages of pregnancy.
  • Gestational diabetes is caused by the hormones of pregnancy or a shortage of insulin.
  • Although this form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, a woman who has had it and her child are more likely to develop diabetes later in life.

Between 5% and 10% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes and this usually occurs around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.

What causes gestational diabetes?

In pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones that help the baby grow and develop. These hormones also block the action of the mother’s insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Because of this insulin resistance, the need for insulin in pregnancy is 2 to 3 times higher than normal.

During this time the body may not be able to cope with the extra demand for insulin production and the blood glucose (sugar) levels will be higher resulting in gestational diabetes being diagnosed.

Prevention of Diabetes

  • Currently type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.
  • Many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented, or the onset delayed, through positive lifestyle changes.
  • It is estimated that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by up to 58% by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and following a healthy eating plan.

People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent the condition by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Making healthy food choices
  • Managing blood pressure
  • Managing cholesterol levels
  • Not smoking.

What are the common symptoms of diabetes?

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.
  • Being really thirsty.
  • Feeling more tired than usual.
  • Losing weight without trying to.
  • Genital itching or thrush.
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.
  • Blurred vision.

Normal Blood Sugar Level

  • A normal fasting (no food for eight hours) blood sugar level is between 70 and 99 mg/dL
  • A normal blood sugar level two hours after eating is less than 140 mg/dL

Diabetes Symbol

Diabetes DayThe blue circle is the universal symbol for diabetes. Until 2006, there was no global symbol for diabetes. The purpose of the symbol is to give diabetes a common identity. The World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14.

2015 theme is Healthy Living and Diabetes”.

Know More About World Diabetes Day

Myths and Facts

Myth – Diabetes is not serious

Fact – There is no such thing as “mild” diabetes. All types of diabetes are serious and can lead to complications if not well managed. Diabetes can affect quality of life and can reduce life expectancy.

Myth – Diabetes can be prevented

Fact – Not all types of diabetes can be prevented. Type 1 is an autoimmune condition; there is no cure and no prevention. We do not know what causes type 1 diabetes.

For type 2 diabetes, it is estimated that up to 58 percent of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by exercise and healthy eating.

Myth – People with diabetes can’t eat dessert

Fact – Because diabetes is a condition where your blood glucose level is too high, many people think they need to avoid sugars and foods containing sugar. However, if eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. The key is to eat everything in moderation.

References : Diabetes Research, Medical News, Diabetes.org, Webmd, NDSS


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