Diabetes is a disease in which the body has an excessive amount of glucose in the blood, also called blood sugar. Blood glucose is the main source of energy for any human being and this glucose is used with the help of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, but sometimes the body doesn’t produce enough amount of insulin or doesn’t use it properly because of which glucose remains in the blood and increases sugar in the blood. Over time this excess sugar creates health problems for the person. There is no permanent cure for diabetes, it’s a chronic disease and people have to change their life according to the treatment of it.
As per a WHO report in 2020, there are about 72.96 adult diabetic patients in India, with 10.9% in urban areas and 14.2% in rural areas. Only 3.0%-7.8% of people aged 20 and above have diabetes, the major number of patients comes from people above the age of 50. The American Diabetes Association has predicted that by 2030 India would see a surge of diabetic patients due to high genetic susceptibility and its calorie-heavy and low-activity lifestyle adopted by many in the country.
Types of Diabetes
There are mainly two types of diabetes
In type 1 you have to mainly take insulin every day to maintain the required amount in the body. it is known as an autoimmune condition in which the immune system accidentally attacks the beta cells in the pancreas that produces insulin, which causes the deficiency of insulin in the body
In this type of diabetes, the body can’t efficiently use insulin because of which the pancreas produces an excess of insulin. Regulation in diet and physical activity, along with medication can help maintain sugar levels in the blood.
Identifying the Problem
As said earlier, diabetes is caused by higher levels of glucose in the sugar because not enough insulin is produced or the insulin is not efficiently used to provide the body energy extracted from the food. For this, you would need to get medical tests done to know the level of sugar in the blood, but before that, there are some symptoms like urinating often, constantly feeling hungry or thirsty, extreme fatigue, and many more that can indicate at higher sugar levels in the blood. If you notice any of these symptoms, then you can approach your local physician to further discuss the problem and get the tests done.
To get diagnosed by the doctor, there are mainly three tests and you can take one of them to confirm the diagnosis:
A Fasting Glucose Test
It is a blood sugar test taken in the morning before eating anything and the level is expected to be around 126 mg/dl and anything more than that confirms the diagnosis.
An Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
In this test, the person is to drink a beverage with high glucose content and then the sugar level is checked every 30 to 60 minutes up to 3 hours. If the glucose level is 200 mg/dl or higher at 2 hours, then you might have diabetes.
The A1c Test
It is like a simple blood test that shows blood sugar levels for the past 2-3 months. If the A1c level is higher than 6.5%, then that means you have diabetes.
Diabetes is a very serious disease as there is no permanent cure for it, it’s a lifelong disease that stays with you until you die. But there is nothing to worry, with a great team of doctors, dieticians, nurses and diabetologists you can live a long and healthy life.
Though diabetes is a widespread disease, its treatment varies from person to person depending on the level of sugar and the cause of diabetes, therefore it is recommended for all the patients to know about all the latest therapies, medications, and approaches along with following the instructions of the team.
Your doctor will help you make a diabetes treatment plan that is right for you and you can understand. The treatment requires a close watch on the blood sugar level. The dietician will help with planning a diet that caters to your need and controls sugar level in the body, by organizing your meals and your exercise regime. The diabetologists will prescribe you medicines and inform you about all the treatments available.
When you eat and how much you eat is as important as what you eat, therefore make a thorough diet plan with your doctor or dietician based on your condition. Usually, doctors recommend three small meals along with 3-4 snacks in a day.
A balanced diet is very important, which is why ensure that you are getting all the vitamins and nutrients required. The quantity of each will depend on your body weight and your personal preference.
Planning your exercise regime is as important as planning your diet, especially if the diet is caused by obesity. Exercise improves your use of insulin and may lower blood sugar levels. It is very important to consult your doctor before planning the exercise regime as sometimes it can lead to low blood sugar. In these cases, you can have a carbohydrate snack half an hour before doing your exercise and if during the exercise you feel your sugar dropping, take a break, and have carbohydrate snacks.
I have already talked about diet plans and exercise regimes but in some situations its necessary to let people know that you are diabetic by wearing a MedicAlert bracelet or tag that says you are diabetic. This will help you in cases of low blood sugar levels, also known as hypoglycemia, or accidents. Hypoglycemia can be mistaken for drunkenness and if proper treatment is not received can result in coma or seizure.