Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to use or produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose from your blood into your cells. However, Diabetes Mellitus prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food you eat. Basically, when you ingest food or drink, it is converted into glucose (that provides the energy with your body needs for daily activities) and transported into your bloodstream. Diabetes can damage your eyes (blindness), nerves, and eventually lead to kidney failure, limb amputation and heart disease when left untreated and mismanaged.
TYPES OF DIABETES MELLITUS
There are different types of diabetes. They include;
- Type 1 Insulin-Dependent Diabetes, which is also called Juvenile-onset diabetes, is an autoimmune condition that occurs when your body attacks your pancreas with antibodies thereby causing the pancreas to produce little or no insulin. The organ is damaged and doesn’t make insulin. Type 1 occurs at any age, but it is most common in people who are under 30 years of age.
- Type 2 Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes, which is also called Adult-onset diabetes, occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood. Apparently, the pancreas produces some insulin, but the cells upon which it should act are not normally sensitive to its action. However, Type 2 occur mostly in people who are over 30 years old but has progressively become more common with any age as long as the risk factors are present. Such as Obesity.
- Prediabetes, which is also called borderline Diabetes or “warning zone” occurs when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes yet. Prediabetes is an indication that you could develop type 2 diabetes (T2D) if you don’t take some immediate and lasting lifestyle changes.
- Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop high blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Although, some women are able to manage it by eating a healthy, balanced diet, staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. Others may need to take medication.
SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES
Basically, diabetes symptoms vary. It surely depends on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Although, people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may not experience symptoms initially. However, type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe.
Symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes includes:
- Extreme hunger.
- Increased thirst.
- Frequent urination.
- Blurry vision.
- Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there is not enough available insulin).
- Sores that are slow to heal.
- Dry and itchy skin.
- Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry).
- Dry mouth.
- Yeast infections.
- Decreased sex drive.
- Poor muscle strength.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED).
- Urinary tract infections.
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
CAUSES OF DIABETES
Type 1 – has an unknown cause. For some reason type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors.
Type 2 and Prediabetes – Prediabetes eventually leads to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes causes are; Genetic and Environmental factors, and Being Overweight.
Gestational diabetes – occurs as a result of pregnancy.
RISKS FACTOR OF DIABETES
Certainly, risk factors of diabetes depend on the type.
- Family History – you are at risk if your parent or sibling has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. You’re also at greater risk if you had Gestational Diabetes during a previous pregnancy, if you delivered a very large baby and if you had an unexplained stillbirth.
- Being overweight.
- Age – your risk increases as you get older.
- Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels – you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes if your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is low; and if your Triglyceride level is high.
- High blood pressure – you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes if your blood pressure is over 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg).
- Physical Inactivity – the less active you are, the greater your risk.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – (a condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity). Increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
PREVENTION OF DIABETES
Basically, Type 1 diabetes is not preventable. However, Prediabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes can be prevented.
1. Eating Healthy
You should eat foods that are lower in fat and calories and higher in fibre. Eat more fruits whole grains and vegetables.
2. Exercise Regularly
Engaging in physical activity on a regular basis can increase insulin secretion and sensitivity, which may help prevent the progression from prediabetes to diabetes. Basically, exercise increases the insulin sensitivity of your cells. So when you exercise, less insulin is required to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Losing weight is an effective measure to reduce the risk of diabetes. Excess visceral fat promotes inflammation and insulin resistance, which significantly increase the risk of diabetes.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking is strongly linked to the risk of diabetes, especially in heavy smokers. Smoking leads to the development and progression of diabetes. Quitting has been shown to reduce this risk over time.
5. Drink Water
Water should be your primary beverage. Intake of water helps to control blood sugar and insulin levels.
6. Maintain a Vitamin Blood level
Intake of foods high in vitamin D or taking supplements can help optimize vitamin D blood levels, which can reduce your risk of diabetes. Sun exposure can increase vitamin D levels in the blood.
7. Drink Coffee or Tea
Intake of coffee or tea helps in the management of diabetes. Coffee and tea have antioxidants known as polyphenols that may help protect against diabetes.
Natural herbs like Curcumin and Berberine increase insulin sensitivity, reduce blood sugar levels and may help prevent diabetes. Basically, curcumin is the main ingredient in turmeric, a spice often found in Indian curries. Curcumin contains strong anti-inflammatory properties. Berberine is a plant extract taken orally that may help regulate how the body uses sugar.
Medication like Metformin and Acarbose drugs may help to reduce diabetes.
In conclusion, diabetes is a huge concern. Adhering to the prevention can help reduce the development and progression of the condition.