Diabetes FAQs Symptoms and Treatment.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a common name for diseases with abundant urine outflow – polyuria. When people talk about diabetes, they commonly mean diabetes mellitus. It is a group of endocrine diseases with broken glucose metabolism and eventual insulin deficiency which in its turn leads to the permanent rise in blood glucose. The disease is a chronic one. It also causes the violation of metabolism of all substances, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and water-electrolyte balance.
Besides people, the disease can be developed in dogs and cats.
The disease develops as a result of internal (including genetic) and external factors and is distinguished besides the listed above-symptoms also by the violation of vessels structure, nerves, and various organs and tissues.
The spread of the disease on average is 1-8.6%. In kids and teens it is 0.1-0.3%. Considering that many cases are undiagnosed, the share of individuals with diabetes in some countries can reach 6%. Officially, around 422 million people suffer from the disease worldwide. Besides, every decade the number doubles.
Worth noting, the disease is quite unequally developed by race. People of Asian descent are the most prone to its development. The second place is taken by people of African descent.
Besides, it is discovered that Asians are also more predisposed to aggravations such as diabetic kidney disease and coronary heart disease. For people of African descent, more frequent are complications such as severe difficultly treated arterial hypertension and more frequent gestational diabetes.
How can I get diabetes?
Diabetes is not contagious so you cannot get infected. Despite the most serious threat that diabetes poses to health, half of the diabetics are not even aware of their illness. The risk of diabetes is related to genetic and environmental factors but you can work on keeping blood glucose on the normal level through the help of healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Your chances of developing diabetes are very high if you are overweight.
How do I know if I have diabetes?
The most prominent symptoms are:
– Permanent thirst;
– Permanent hunger;
– Unusually frequent urination;
– Chronic fatigue;
– Weight loss for no reason;
– Reduced visual acuity;
– Cuts and scratches that heal for a long time;
– Dry skin.
The manifestations of diabetes type 1 are commonly developed in childhood or adolescence and are much more severe.
You should pay special attention to the listed symptoms if you are in the risk group: aged over 40 (for Asians, aged over 25), have family members with diabetes or extra weight.
Is it true that sweets can cause diabetes?
Candies and sweets are not the major reasons for diabetes onset. However, there is some truth in this belief.
– Diabetes type 2 is majorly tied with eating habits and lifestyle although they do not play the main role as it develops rather from a combination of factors including genetic predisposition. Namely this type of diabetes can develop if you overeat sweets. But it’s not as simple as it seems. The sweets themselves do not cause diabetes but they contribute to weight gain what leads to obesity and obesity is proven to be a number one risk condition for the development of malfunctions of the pancreas and eventually diabetes. Obesity induces insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. In other words, the body simply ceases to understand how much insulin it needs to produce.
– Diabetes type 1 is a severe disease with insulin dependence and can appear at any age but is more likely to develop at a young age. The causes of its occurrence have not been fully understood.
How is diabetes diagnosed?
Diabetes is diagnosed by blood tests that identify the amount of blood glucose. If you have any risk factors such as excessive weight, age over forty, or your family members have diabetes, you should get checked regularly.
The first test is made on an empty stomach with at least ten hours after the last meal. If the result is lower than 7.0 mmol/L but higher than 5.6 mmol/L, it is necessary to do a glucose tolerance test. The test implies taking 75 grams of glucose and a repeated blood test is made in two hours. If the result is more than 11.1 mmol/L, diabetes is confirmed. If it is less than 11 mmol/L but more than 7.8 mmol/L, impaired tolerance of carbohydrates is diagnosed. In lower results, the test should be made again in 3-6 months.
What are the risk factors for diabetes development?
– Diabetes type 1 is frequently diagnosed in kids after infectious diseases such as infectious hepatitis, malaria, measles, and others. Mental and physical traumas and particularly in the head or abdomen, improper diet based on carbs and fats are the danger factors of this type of disease development as they induce the development of hidden imperfection of the insular apparatus of the pancreas. In kids, the major role for the onset of diabetes can play an elevated secretion of growth hormone. Growth is the process in which an increased synthesis of proteins occurs. It is related to the production of insulin and its consumption by the tissues. In the mentioned conditions and eventual dysfunction of pancreas’ islet apparatus, the depletion of its function occurs, as a result of which diabetes develops.
– Diabetes type 2 is commonly related with age over 40 years although for certain races the risk age starts from 25. In individuals over 40 it is primarily related to the lowering of physical activity and as a result, body mass increase.
– Excess weight is one of the major factors for the disease development. Around 90% of individuals diagnosed with it suffer from excess weight or even obesity.
– Risk factors also include family history of the disease.
– Your previous diseases and conditions can also provoke the onset of diabetes. They include high blood tension, heart attacks or strokes, pregnancy diabetes, and the use of drugs to treat conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
Will I develop diabetes if my parent has it?
The family history of diabetes increases your chances of having it but doesn’t guarantee it. If one of your parents has diabetes, you should be attentive to your health and eating habits.
And vice versa, if none of your relatives has diabetes, it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have it. It mainly depends on the lifestyle. The number one reason for diabetes is obesity.
How can I prevent diabetes?
– The first and main measure for preventing diabetes is losing weight. It is encouraged to minimize the consumption of sweetened drinks including juices, soda, and so on, pastry, and other fast carbs. You should also switch from products that contain refined sugar and refined grains (cereals) to whole products because vitamins and fibers are mainly contained in the shell of grains. Examples of such products are white bread, white pasta, pastries, sodas, sweets and breakfast cereal with added sugar. The healthy diet should also include a lot of vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, lean meat, nuts, and natural oils. It is also important to have meals at equal intervals to avoid overeating.
– Physical exercising helps not only lowering blood sugar but also lose weight. Physicians recommend at least 2.5 hours a week spend engaging in aerobic activity, for instance, walking or going up the stairs. It is important to lose weight but it’s better to stick to 0.5-1 kg per week and avoid extreme weight loss diets.
How is diabetes treated?
The therapy is contingent on the type of diabetes. Type 1 is treated with insulin to compensate for its deficiency in the body.
Diabetes type 2 can be treated with diet and if it’s not effective, antidiabetic oral drugs (for instance, Actos (Pioglitazone) by Ipca) are added to the therapy. If the disease progresses insulin therapy is added.
Currently, genetically engineered human insulin is used. It is biosynthetic or recombinant human insulin and all medications derived from it. According to the International Diabetes Federation, at the end of 2004, more than 65% of the countries in the world used only genetically engineered human insulin for the treatment of individuals with diabetes.
For the therapy are used formulations of a short action, average action, and extended action. Along with them, insulin analogs with additional properties are also used. These include insulin of ultrashort action and long-term (prolonged) action. Usually, these drugs are injected subcutaneously, but if necessary, intramuscularly or intravenously.
What complications can I develop due to diabetes?
High blood glucose severely damages the blood vessels.
When blood becomes thicker, its circulation impairs and it can even be unable to reach some cells which raises the risk of nerves damage. It leads to the loss of sensitivity, vision, and infectious diseases of the feet.
According to the WHO, diabetes is the major cause for blindness, kidney failure, myocardial infarction, stroke, gangrene of the lower limbs leading to amputation of the legs.
Is diabetes a life-threatening disease?
Diabetes itself if not fatal but its complications are highly dangerous and life-threatening. In the unchanged lifestyle, the disease progresses and even drugs can’t prevent complications onset. According to statistics, yearly die around 2 million people due to complications of diabetes.
If you have extra weight or family members with the disease, get checked once a year, start doing at least some exercising, and minimize the consumption of carbs. The disease is much easier prevented than treated.