Diabetes Simplified: All You Need To Know
Since the prevalence of diabetes is so high in India, it is always advisable that we should look out for the risk factors of diabetes which make us prone towards diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease in which although adequate quantity of glucose is present in the blood
The human body is a complex machine. Every machine requires right quantity of fuel. Shortage of fuel results in breakdown of the machine. Excess of fuel results in choking up of the machine. The food we eat is digested and converted into glucose. This glucose is the fuel for our body.
Let us understand how our body uses the glucose present in the blood. A substance known as Insulin, which is also present in the blood helps the body to use this glucose for energy. Glucose gives energy for the immediate requirements of the body and the rest of the glucose is stored for future use. Action of Insulin is controlling blood sugar levels and providing glucose to the target organs.
Diabetes is a disease in which although adequate quantity of glucose is present in the blood, yet the body is not able to use this glucose for energy. As a result of this, the quantity of glucose increases in the blood and excessive amount of glucose starts passing out through the urine. All the cases of diabetes are detected through a blood test. Your doctor may have suspected that you have diabetes by detecting glucose in your urine. The diagnosis may have been confirmed with further tests. Early detection is always good because only then can the complications of diabetes be avoided or minimised.
Normal Blood Sugar levels are: Fasting- upto 106, Post meal - upto 140
Since the prevalence of diabetes is so high in India, it is always advisable that we should look out for the risk factors of diabetes which make us prone towards diabetes. If any of us have a diabetic relative, we should be cautious because diabetes can run into families, although it may not appear for a generation or more. While it is impossible to tell who will get diabetes, heredity plays a role in its appearance. One has all the reasons to be careful if he/she is over forty because diabetes is usually a disease of middle and old age. It is very rare in children below 1 year of age and more common among older children and young adults-but it usually occurs in those over forty. Many adults with diabetes are overweight before their disease develops. Keeping proper weight is frequently the only way of preventing diabetes and reducing its severity, especially in older people. Lack of physical activities and exercise is also said to be responsible for Diabetes.
If you are having diabetes, then, either your body is not able to produce enough insulin or, your body is not able to use insulin in a proper way. Glucose level in the blood starts increasing because body cells are not able to take glucose from the blood. As a result of this glucose start coming in the urine in large quantities. Actually, Diabetes could be of two types. One can have any of these two types of diabetes at any age but generally type-1 is more common in children and young adults while type-2 in elder people.
Let us briefly understand the causes of diabetes. Diabetes could be from birth, could be due to dysfunction of the pancreas or could be due to insulin resistance and could even be caused by a virus. Any such disorder of the Pancreas which could lead to lesser or nil production of Insulin causes Diabetes. Without sufficient insulin, glucose in the blood cannot be consumed in sufficient quantity by the body and therefore Diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes include
- Excessive thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Tingling/Numbness in feet
- Delayed wound healing
In the early stages of the diabetes, many people do not notice any symptoms. Many older adults who have diabetes have no symptoms other than a vague feeling of not being well. As soon as your diabetes is detected it is important to treat it otherwise symptoms may appear or increase in severity.
Diabetic complications occur in blood vessels because diabetics are more prone to problems in their blood vessels. Since the blood vessels carry the blood to all parts of the body, the problems in the blood vessels ultimately affect the organs too. Such conditions appear earlier and advance more rapidly in a diabetic than in non-diabetic. If you are having diabetes then the amount of fat in your blood will be high and this increased amount which is more than what is required by the body, starts depositing in the blood vessels. As a result of this narrowing of the blood vessels take place which is harmful for the body. Diabetes also increases the amount of a particular substance called as homocysteine which further accelerates the process of narrowing of blood vessels, which are already getting narrowed because of high fat in blood. Since in the diabetes level of glucose in the blood is always high and this increased amount of glucose damages the blood vessels which are already under stress because of high amount of fat and homocysteine. Damage to blood vessel adversely affects the heart, the kidneys, the feet and the eyes. In a diabetic person both the large and small blood vessels get affected, so diabetes gives rise to disease of blood vessels and because of blood vessel damage, it causes heart disease. Other problems diabetes can cause are kidney disease, eye disease and diabetic foot as Diabetes also damages the nerves.
(Dr Amit A Saraf, Director Internal Medicine Jupiter Hospital, Mumbai)
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