If you have diabetes, it means your body can’t regulate the amount of sugar in your blood. The most notable symptoms of the disease include polyuria or excessive urine production, excessive thirst, as well as increased fluid intake as you try to compensate for the polyuria, blurred vision because of the high glucose levels on the eye’s optics, weight loss, and feelings of lethargy. There are instances, however, when symptoms develop more slowly or can even be absent.
The Different Types
According to the World Health Organization, there are three major types of diabetes mellitus: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. All of them share the common characteristic of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, called beta cells, being unable to produce enough insulin to process the glucose.
Type 1 diabetes is the lack of insulin due to the pancreas not producing enough or little insulin for the body. The main cause for this deficiency is an autoimmune attack. It comprises about 10% of the diabetes mellitus cases in both the US and Europe. Type 1 diabetes can be acquired by anyone of any age, but it usually targets children and adolescents, hence the term “juvenile diabetes”. Those suffering from this type of diabetes need daily insulin treatment throughout their lives.
Principal treatment is usually replacement of insulin coupled with a careful monitoring of the blood sugar levels. Lifestyle changes are also required. If sufficient patient training, care, discipline and awareness is taken, insulin treatment usually won’t hamper normal activities.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin. Type 2 comprises about 90% of diabetes cases. The problem is that the body is partially unable to use the insulin, or not at all. The inability of the body to use this insulin most certainly involves the insulin receptor found in cell membranes. There are several factors thought to have caused this type of diabetes. Central obesity is known to have an effect on insulin resistance. Abdominal fat, specifically, secretes a group of hormones called adipokines that may cause glucose tolerance impairment. Other factors are aging and family history.
Gestational diabetes resembles type 2 diabetes. It also includes a combination of inadequate insulin secretion and responsiveness. It happens in about two to five percent of all pregnancies and may disappear after delivery. It is fully treatable but careful medical supervision throughout pregnancy is often required. Aside from that, there’s a chance that about 20 to 50% of the women affected may develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Risk includes damage to the fetus or the mother if gestational diabetes is not treated.
Unfortunately, diabetes is not curable. Emphasis is placed on managing and treating the condition while reatment is a lifelong commitment of blood glucose monitoring, healthy living, exercise, and, in type 1 cases, insulin therapy and medication. There are several things you can do to manage your condition:
- Monitor your blood sugar. It is important that you keep updated with your blood glucose levels. Depending on your health condition , you may have to do this at least once a day, or several times a week. Monitor your sugar levels to make sure that they fall within the acceptable range.
- Adhere to your diet. Maintain a healthy diet in order to control your blood glucose levels and prevent any complications. Eat a diet that is high in fiber, low in fats, and low in sweets. Keep carbohydrates low as well, as carbohydrates are the major source of monosaccharide glucose. A consistent diet will also help the doctor prescribe the correct dose of insulin, if you need it.
- Exercise. Physical activity lowers your blood sugar. Exercise also helps reduce the risk of getting diabetes, if you don’t have it yet. Complications such as heart diseases, stroke, or kidney failure are also lessened. You don’t need to engage in strenuous physical activities. Just a simple 30 minute jog or aerobics exercise will do.
- Moderate your alcohol use. If you can’t eliminate alcohol use, then moderate it. Limit your drinking habit to two or three drinks in the evening, and try to minimize it to no more than seven drinks in a week. Alcohol consumption is known to cause low or high blood sugar levels, neuritis, and increase in a type of fat called triglycerides.
- Quit any bad habits that may complicate diabetes. Smoking raises the risks of nearly all the complications associated with diabetes. Quit it so your condition will not worsen. If you’re having trouble quitting, seek professional help.
Diabetes is a very serious and condition, and having it will affect you throughout your life. It is better that you avoid it instead of treat it. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to do this.
* Monitoring and controlling blood sugar is a must for any diabetic. If this health aspect isn’t taken care of, the person will surely encounter unpleasant complications. Find out how to control blood sugar properly, and avoid the diabetes health risk.
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