India: The Diabetes Capital Of The World
Diabetes or Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a group of metabolic diseases that occur when there are high levels of blood sugar or blood glucose. The main source of energy which comes from the food is blood glucose. Pancreas create a hormone called insulin which help in giving energy to the cells by taking glucose from the food. But, sometimes when the body doesn’t make any or enough insulin or has a difficulty using the insulin, then it does not get into the cells and stays in the blood. When this accumulates over time, it leads to diabetes.
Types Of Diabetes
- Type 1
- Type 2
- Gestational diabetes
The immune system of the body which fights infection, attacks and thus destroys the very cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This results in a malfunction and the body to not produce any insulin. It is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, but can appear at any age. Typically people suffering with type 1 have to take insulin every day, else it might prove fatal.
This is the most common type of diabetes of them all. Here, there is insulin resistance and the insulin is not properly utilised by the body. There can be cases where enough insulin is not made in the body and it can result in absolute insulin deficiency. It can be developed at any age, even during childhood, although, it generally develops in the middle-aged and older people.
It usually develops in some women during pregnancy. Though mostly after the baby is born the condition disappears, but gestational diabetes increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Also, there are times when the condition diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2.
Other Types Of Diabetes
- Monogenic Diabetes
- Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes
- Environmental factors
- Being overweight or obesity
- Physical inactivity
- High blood pressure
- Insulin resistance – A condition in which the muscle, liver and fat cells do not use insulin well resulting in the body needing more insulin to help the glucose to get into the cells making it difficult for the pancreas to keep up with the high demand of insulin resulting in the glucose levels to rise.
- Genetics & hereditary: Certain genes are closely linked with the development of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including obesity which becomes a supplementary contributor to type 2.
- Hormonal changes of pregnancy
- Genetic and lifestyle factors
- Genes and family history
- Insulin resistance
Other causes and risk factors:
- Genetic mutations
- Hormonal diseases like Cushing’s Syndrome, Acromegaly or Hyperthyroidism
- Removal of pancreas or damage to the pancreas
- Intake of unadvised medicines
Signs & Symptoms
The symptoms develop quickly:
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Urinating more frequently
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or a sensation of tingling in the feet or hands
- Sores take longer to heal
- Unexplained weight loss
The symptoms generally develop over time, maybe even taking years and being very mild might even be unnoticeable. In some cases after certain health conditions like heart trouble or blurred vision, only, is the time when they find out that they have type 2 diabetes.
Related Medical Issues
Diabetes can often lead to a host of other health problems and related medical conditions, some of which include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye problems
- Dental disease
- Nerve damage
- Foot problems
- Random Plasma Glucose (RPG test) – This test helps measuring the blood glucose level at a single point in time.
- Glycated Haemoglobin (HbA1c) blood test – This test is primarily done to know how long an individual has had high blood glucose.
- Fasting lipid profile
- Total, LDL (Low-density lipoproteins), and HDL (High-density lipoproteins) cholesterol and triglycerides
- LFT (Liver function tests)
- Kidney function tests
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in patients having type 1 diabetes, Dyslipidemia, or women of age over 50 years.
- Autoimmune test – In this test, an individual’s blood or even the individual’s family member’s blood is tested for certain auto-antibodies, which are a type of antibodies that attack the healthy tissue and cells if one’s own body by mistake. Few autoantibodies of a certain kind is present more commonly in type-1 rather than type 2, thus giving the result.
Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes
- It can generally be diagnosed between 24 and 48 weeks of pregnancy. The tests performed are:
- Blood tests
- Random Blood Sugar Test
- Fasting Blood Sugar Test
- Typically the management of type 1 is with the combinations of regular and NPH (neutral protamine Hagedorn) insulin or even synthetic insulin analogs.
- In type 2, generally, a long-acting formulation will be included at the initial time while the oral medications continue.
The coexisting medical conditions such as high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, etc. are treated.
- Regular exercise in some form of physical activity
- Proper and nutritious diet
- No smoking
- No consumption of alcohol
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