Diabetes – A Silent Killer
In 2012, in a study conducted it was found that nearly 10% of the US population was suffering from diabetes. And nearly 1.4 million people are added every year to that list. So much so, that diabetes is the 7th most common underlying reason for death in the US.
Before going any further, let’s understand this problem which is so widespread and prevalent all across the globe.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism. Metabolism is responsible for breaking down food into sugar and providing energy to the body. It is done with the help of hormone INSULIN. Any malady in production of insulin results in DIABETES. Those suffering from diabetes will usually have high level of glucose (sugar) in the body, either because of less production of insulin or because of incapability in using the insulin produced by the body.
Types of diabetes:
Type1: It is diagnosed by the condition in which, the pancreas fail to produce enough insulin, which causes the blood glucose level to increase. It is less common and only 10% of patients suffer from type-1 diabetes. It usually occurs before the patient is 40 yrs old. The only solution to this problem is insulin injections. Type 1 diabetes is usually causes due to genetic reasons.
Type2: It is diagnosed by the condition in which, the body is incapable of using the insulin produced efficiently. This condition is called insulin resistance.90% of the people suffer from this type of diabetes and is usually caused due to lifestyle problems. Being overweight, inactive lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits are the main reason for developing type 2 diabetes. As the patient grows old, the problem becomes worse.
Gestational diabetes: in this condition, to- be mother develops high blood sugar levels only during the pregnancy. The reason for it is, less production of insulin. It is usually managed with diet and lifestyle changes. Untreated gestational diabetes can cause complications in the process of child birth.
Pre-diabetes: In this condition, the level of blood glucose is high in the blood, but not so high that it can be clearly classified as diabetes. Though it can usually be treated with just weight loss and exercise, it should not be taken lightly. Even if the patient is pre diabetic, a considerable damage has already been done to the various systems in the body.
Common symptoms that are associated with diabetes are:
- Excess thirst
- Excess hunger
- Excess urination
- Extreme tiredness
- Slow healing of wounds
- Unexplained weight loss.
Diabetes needs proper care and diagnosis to be managed effectively. Any delay or carelessness in managing the disease can lead to a number of other complications.
Some of them are as follows:
Neuropathy: Uncontrolled diabetes reduces the ability of the body to feel pain. It is because of the damage diabetes does to the nerves. There are high chances of developing infections and blisters due to untreated or neglected wounds and pains. Diabetic patients usually grow to suffer from deformed feet and toes.
Skin problems: diabetic patients usually develop dry skin, because the nerve which controls production of the oil gets damaged over the course of time. If unnoticed the skin cracks and then hardens. The patients should regularly moisturize their skin with special care given to the feet.
Eye problems: diabetes affects the eyes and can even cause blindness. Diabetic patients are more likely to develop eye problems like cataract, glaucoma and blurred vision. Any such issue should be treated immediately with the help of a health care professional.
Kidney diseases: diabetes is known to have a lasting effect on the kidney. Kidneys are supposed to filter the blood and remove the waste from the body. With diabetes, the kidneys have to filter extra blood which puts stress on them. This stress over a period of time can even lead to kidney failure.
Hypertension: 120/80 is considered an ideal blood pressure. But with diabetes affecting all the organs in circulatory system, the heart and the vessels have to work extra for an efficient functioning of the body. This extra pressure leads to developing hypertension.
Heart problems: a person having diabetes have 60% more chances of developing heart problems. Blocked vessels are the main reason of developing heart problems and even strokes.
Mental problems: diabetes comes along with a host of other problems like anger and depression. It is a life threatening disease and dealing with it can take a toll on the mental health. Denial in accepting the diseases will be a roadblock in treating it effectively. Anger and denial can ultimately develop into engulfing sadness known as depression.
Diabetes is a disease that cannot be treated. But with self monitoring, medications and changes in life style, it can be managed easily. The medication and self monitoring routine can be finalized after discussion with a medical care provider; here are a few tips to manage diabetes with diet:
- Avoid food which has high content of fats and sugar.
- Prefer having a routine of small regular meals.
- Keep a check on alcohol consumption.
- Go for diet rich in fiber and pulses.
- Including supplements like magnesium in your diet.
- Choose fish and lean cuts of red meat. But make they aren’t fried.
- Exercise regularly and keep your body weight in check.
- Diabetes and children
Diabetes is a silent killer and is prevalent in people of all age groups and ethnicities. The most affected out of lot are children. Earlier, only type 1 diabetes was found in children as it is caused due to hereditary reasons. But with increase in intake of junk food and less physical activity, type 2 diabetes can also be seen among kids as young as 10 years old.
Children should be encouraged for eating healthy food, spend less time in front of televisions and have at least 60 minutes of physical exercise every day.