Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Treatment, Precautions and Food habits

What is diabetes?

In the last 3 decades, diabetes disease has been increasing along with other kinds of diseases like obesity that can be noted among the risk factors of diabetes. WHO-World Health Organization regards diabetes as a growing disease in low-middle income countries. Diabetes 1 is known to cause the maximum number of deaths and in the year 2012, this disease caused 1.5 million deaths worldwide.

Total there are three kinds of diabetes, out of which type-2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes. Previously type-2 diabetes was rare among children but recent reports suggest that it is increasing worldwide, with obesity acting as the prime trigger.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes consists of a group of diseases that affects the body’s ability to produce and use glucose (blood sugar). Glucose forms an essential part of the body’s mechanism, it is a crucial source of energy for the cells that are present in the body muscles and tissues; also forms the main source of brain fuel. Not all causes of diabetes are similar and irrespective of the diabetes type, this disease raises the blood sugar level in the blood due to which a number of serious health issues may pile up.

But there lies great news for all the diabetes patients out there, unlike all other kinds of severe medical conditions, diabetes patients can live longer with appropriate care and management. Medical science has also helped a lot to assist in this battle with a series of effective inventions that are also budget-friendly. Blood glucose levels can be properly maintained with the help of a combination of balanced diet, medications, active lifestyle, controlled blood pressure and regular check-up, screening of the entire body.

Doing so will reduce the severity of the disease and less the amount of complications that can scale up if diabetes is left untreated. One of the common myth about diabetes is that diabetes patient can’t consume any kind of sweets. A moderate amount of sweet dish or piece of cake may cause no harm once a month.

A small amount of sugar can be substituted for other carbohydrates, for example for skipping pasta for a tiny amount of sugar, consuming food that is not sweet does not mean that you’re choosing a sugar-free product. Other food like bread, potatoes contains sugar alcohol which is harmful to a diabetic patient. Such foods can increase the blood sugar level and lead to the laxative effect. It is very important to understand the composition of food ingredients to avoid further complications. Maintaining blood glucose also helps a lot to determine the amount of insulin the diabetic patient needs to take.

Did you know there is a third type of diabetes that mainly affects pregnant women? It has been reported that 9% of the women become resistant towards insulin once they become pregnant, increases the risk towards developing gestational diabetes. Interestingly, having this third kind of diabetes does not mean that the unborn baby will get affected by this disease, the baby remains safe and post-pregnancy gestational diabetes wears off in most cases but there carries a risk of developing type-2 diabetes in the later stages of life.

Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes

How is the role of glucose in the body?

Glucose present in our body is produced by two things-food and the liver. Glucose is a vital source of energy for the cells of the tissues and muscles. The liver stores and makes glucose but when the glucose level decreases if you have not eaten anything for too long the liver tends to break down the stored glycogen into glucose to maintain the level of sugar in the body.

Diabetes patients are injected with insulin as insulin can lower the blood sugar level in the body. Our body also produces insulin in the pancreas but the amount is not enough, the extra dose is required by diabetic patients to regulate the sugar level in the bloodstream.

Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes can cause a lot of emotional imbalance in a person; it is very common for the patient to feel anxious, angry, or depressed. Such change in behaviour can result due to stress that can come from frequent blood glucose test, monitoring of the diet, insulin shots accompanied by medications daily. For a person to directly switch from a normal daily routine where there are no limitations with food (what to eat and what not to eat), and no amount of test to do regularly, can make a person clingy and irritated.

Reasons of Diabetes
Reasons of Diabetes

If you’re noticing any such changes in a diabetic person, remember to not overreact and support them in little ways possible. The causes of diabetes differ with the type of diabetes one is suffering from. Some of the causes of diabetes according to the types are-

Type-1 diabetes

Till date, no specific causes of diabetes have been found out. Experts have suggested that it can be caused by environmental factors, genetics (if a person has a family history of diabetes). Obesity can’t cause type-1 diabetes.

Type-2 diabetes

Unlike type-1 diabetes, type-2 diabetes can be caused due to obesity. Presence of extra weight in the belly makes the cells more resistant to the effects of insulin on the blood sugar

Gestational diabetes

This kind of diabetes occurs due to hormonal imbalance during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the placenta of a woman produces hormones that tend to make the cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin leading to high blood sugar level. Overweight women or women who have gained excess weight during pregnancy are at risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Symptoms  of Diabetes

The symptoms of diabetes entirely depend on the per cent your blood sugar is high. Prediabetes or type-2 diabetic patients may not experience the initial symptoms while type-1 diabetes shows symptoms quite fast and can be severe too. Some of the sign and symptoms of diabetes include-

  • Getting tired often
  • Blur in vision
  • Prone to infections like vaginal infections, gums or skin infection
  • Slow healing (for injuries and any kind of sores)
  • Irritation that might increase with time
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Urinating frequently
  • Urine that contains ketones
  • Feeling thirsty very often
  • Extreme hunger
  • Dry mouth
  • Itchy skin
  • Yeast infection that may occur between fingers, under the breast or in and around the sex organs (especially in type-2 diabetes)
  • Feeling numb or pain in the legs and feet
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
Symptoms of Diabetes
Symptoms of Diabetes

If you see any possible symptoms of diabetes, without any delay reach out to the doctor. Diabetes is more common among people above the age of 40 years.

Treatment of Diabetes

The treatment of diabetes is entirely dependent on the type of diabetes; also the health of the diabetic patient is taken into account. The easiest and important way of managing diabetes is by exercising regularly, looking after the overall health and sticking to a proper diet plan. Treatments for all diabetes type includes-

Active lifestyle

Studies have found out that exercising regularly can lower the blood sugar levels by moving the excess sugar present into the cells where it will be used for energy. Playing any kind of sport can improve a lot the overall health of a person but remember to not get involved in a rigorous routine where there lie chances of injury as diabetic patients take longer time to heal a wound/injury.

Try to dedicate at least 30 minutes or more to exercise, practise yoga and drink a lot of water. Try to take it slow if you have not been in an active routine lately, gradually increase your speed and make exercise and yoga part of the daily routine. One can also take help from a trainer for better exercise methods and maintenance.

Healthy eating habits

No diet plan format shows that eating such food ingredients will help to reduce diabetes. The approach towards food is different for different patients. Just remember to add fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Also add foods that are rich in fibre, low in fat and calories. Diabetic patients should avoid refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and sweets as much as possible. Although it’s fine to indulge some sweets or carbohydrates; hiring a dietician can be an ideal step as doing so will help with how and what quantity to eat. A dietician can also help to fix a meal plan according to your body needs and lifestyle. If a person is suffering from type-1 diabetes, they need to keep a strict count on their carbohydrates intake.

Treatments for type-1 and type-2 diabetes

The treatments for type-1 and type-2 diabetes includes monitoring of the blood sugar levels with the help of a device, use of insulin injections or an insulin pump, counting the number of carbohydrates consumed, medications and some patients may also require pancreas transplantation( a successful transplant will no more require a patient to get insulin. Bariatric surgery has also shown results to lower type-2 diabetes by reduction of body mass.

Precautions of Diabetes

Following certain guidelines can help to lower the chances of getting diabetes. All types of diabetes types can be avoided by maintaining certain guidelines-

  • Try self workout sessions
  • Avoid oily and junk food and try to eat healthy food always
  • Shred those extra pounds of your body (if you’re overweight or suffering from obesity)

It is important to note that pregnant ladies who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes should not try to lose weight as it can be harmful to both the mother and child. For better guidance, talk to your doctor and consult about your condition

What to eat and what to avoid?

Yes, there are certain limitations with food when it comes to diabetes, eating everything will imbalance the blood sugar levels in the body. Start a diet that is rich in citrus fruits, leafy greens and vegetables like spinach, kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, bok-choy etc, lean protein, less added sugar ingredients, whole grains like brown sugar, whole-grain bread, millet, rye, quinoa, whole-grain pasta etc, fatty fish, beans, walnuts, sweet potatoes and chia seeds.

Certain foods should be kept away from a diabetic patient which includes- white bread, melons, pineapples, popcorn, pumpkin, white pasta, puff rice, white potatoes, carb-heavy foods, saturated and trans-fats, high-GI fruits, refined sugars, sugary drinks and alcohol.

Prevention of diabetes
Prevention of diabetes

FAQs

Que 1. Can diabetes be cured?

Ans-There is no cure for diabetes but it can be effectively regulated with proper lifestyle changes and medication.

Que 2. How long can you live with diabetes?

Ans-People with type-1 diabetes can live up to 20 years while people with type-2 diabetes live for 10 years

Que 3. Can diabetics die in sleep?

Ans- Yes, there are certain cases where diabetic patients have been reported to be dead in their sleep but such situations are rare

Que 4. What fruit should diabetics avoid?

Ans- Avoid eating dry fruits with added sugar, pickles that contains sugar, fruit juices and fruit drinks.

Que 5. What is the best drink for diabetes?

Ans- Drink as much as water possible, one can also drink low-fat milk and vegetable juice.

Que 6. What is a diabetic meal plan?

Ans- Diabetic meal plan refers to eating the healthiest food in a mild manner and sticking to regular meal time

Que 7. What meat can diabetics eat?

Ans-Choose very lean meat and seafood like clams, lobster, shrimp etc.

Que 8. What vegetables are bad for diabetics?

Ans- Avoid vegetables that have low IG score to avoid scaling up of blood sugar levels.

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