Diabetes, something that needs no introduction. We can see one person in almost every family is diabetic. As we all know there’s no cure for diabetes but we can keep it in control with proper care and medication. If we neglect diabetes it leads to many other health complications. That’s why everyone needs to know what diabetes is, its complications and the care needed. Diabetes is the increase in blood glucose above normal levels. Generally, a non-diabetic person’s blood glucose level while fasting is 80 to 100 milligrams. Whereas the postprandial (2 hours after intake of food) blood glucose levels are less than 140 milligrams per decilitre. And HbA1c levels are less than 5.5 units. These are the normal blood glucose levels.
In order to confirm a person is diabetic, his blood glucose levels while fasting should be more than or equal to 126 milligrams and postprandial should be more than 200 milligrams. If one is between both of these two stages, it’s called prediabetes or impaired fasting glucose.
Exact causes are not known while there are some varied opinions on diabetes causes like….
- Genetic factors
- BMI is more than 25
- Too much intake of junk food
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Diagnosis and Symptoms
There won’t be any symptoms for most of the patients. But some of the common symptoms are…
- Polyurea (increase in the frequency of urination)
- polydipsia (increase in thirst)
- polyphagia (increased appetite)
- Delay in wound healing
- Leg pains
- Burning and pricking sensation in the limbs
So, in order to diagnose early, there must be regular screening for diabetes. If there’s any doubt, there are also GTT (glucose tolerance test), HbA1c.
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Consequences if we neglect diabetes
If we don’t take proper care nothing happens immediately in most of the cases but in the long run, there might be severe consequences like…
- Prone to infections
- Diabetic coma
- Hypoglycemia (low sugars)
- May affect nerves (diabetic neuropathy)
- May affect Kidneys (diabetic nephropathy)
- May affect eyes (diabetic retinopathy)
- Foot ulcers and gangrene
- Cardiovascular diseases
Depending on the severity, the treatment should include
- Diet control
- Weight reduction
- Medication (oral tablets or injectables)
This is the most important part here. As far as drug therapy is concerned doctors will take care depending on the diabetes severity of the individual. Diabetes can be controlled by including some changes in the lifestyle. First and foremost one must understand that food is directly proportional to drugs or medicines. If you increase food, you have to increase the medicines. If you don’t increase your medicine, sugars will shoot up. In case you are not able to take enough food for the drugs you’re taking, it will lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugars). So, fixed diet is essential and should be followed.
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Coming to the type of diet, one can take whatever they want but it must be limited. Binge-eating should be kept at bay. There is a myth regarding rice that it’s one of the causes of diabetes. People think that rice causes obesity and eventually diabetes. But it’s a misconception. If rice is the culprit, then how come even those who don’t take much of rice have diabetes (like western people and north Indians). Here we must understand that any kind of food that’s taken in a limited portion can’t harm. So, then why can’t we control diabetes? It’s mainly due to frequent fluctuations in the quantity of food we’re taking in and quality. Finally, what’s recommended is to take fixed diet (in limited quantities) with less salt and oil and more number of fruits and veggies.
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Exercises are almost equally important as a balanced diet. Just walking is not enough for the control of the blood sugar. Workouts should be programmed according to the capability of the person. For diabetes, there are two effective workout programs called weight or resistant training and aerobic exercises. The intensity of the aerobic activity should be more than your regular workout. It should reach 50 to 70% of the target heart rate. That should be done at least for 30 to 40 minutes. Better take some food before hitting the gym. Resistant training and aerobic activity must be done alternatively if possible. Muscle bulk should be increased so that muscles will utilize more glucose and hence glucose levels in the blood will be decreased. That would fetch you the desired results.
**Before going for vigorous exercises one must consult cardiologist and get advice**
If one cannot do strenuous exercises due to Osteoarthritis or some other health issue they must change the regimen accordingly. For suppose one has knee problems, better do upper body exercises, swimming, and weights.
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As we discussed earlier diabetes is not a curable one but a preventable disease. How? Avoid over eating and too much of sugars. Do regular exercises, reduce salt, regular screening for diabetes every 6 months. If prediabetes is detected, by following the above regimen we can prevent it to a great extent. Don’t take steroids without consulting the doctor. Finally, the bottom line here is to take small quantities of a balanced diet in regular fixed intervals and do exercises regularly and consult the doctor regularly.
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*Under the guidance of Dr.Ch.Prasad Babu*