How to manage Diabetes

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Anupama Nair

Diabetes is often called as the ‘silent killer’ and a person with diabetes knows the pain when he sees his friends enjoying themselves and realizes his life devoid of sweetness. What is diabetes? In layman terms if you have diabetes, your body cannot properly process and use glucose from the food you eat.

There are different types of diabetes, each with different causes, but they all share the common problem of having too much glucose in your bloodstream. Treatments include medications and/or insulins. Some types of diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to serious consequences, causing damage to a wide range of your body's organs and tissues – including your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. The process of digestion includes breaking down the food you eat into various different nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta or chapatis, your body breaks this down into sugar or glucose. When glucose is in your bloodstream, it needs help or ‘key’ called insulin to get into its final destination where it's used, which is inside your body's cells

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas, an organ located behind your stomach. The pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream and insulin acts as the ‘key which unlocks the door of the cell wall that allows glucose to enter your body’s cells. Glucose is the ‘fuel’ or energy, tissues and organs need to function properly.

When you suffer from diabetes, your pancreas either doesn’t make any insulin or enough insulin or your pancreas makes insulin but your body’s cells don’t respond to it and can’t use it as it normally does. If glucose can’t get into your body’s cells, it stays in your bloodstream and your blood glucose level rises.

The types of diabetes seen in the world are:

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, i.e., your body attacks itself. In this case, the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas are destroyed. Nearly 10% of the people who have diabetes are Type 1. It is usually diagnosed in children and young adults ,but can develop at any age. It was once better known as “juvenile” diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day. This is why it is also called ‘insulin-dependent diabetes’.
  • Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or your body’s cells don’t respond normally to the insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes. Approximately 95% of people with diabetes are Type 2. It usually occurs in middle-aged and older people. The common names for Type 2 are ‘adult-onset diabetes’ and ‘insulin-resistant diabetes’
  • Prediabetes is the stage before Type 2 diabetes. Your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be officially diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes develops in some women during their pregnancy time. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy. However, if you have gestational diabetes you're at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.

What causes this deadly disease? The main factors are:

  • Having a family history — parent or sibling of Type 1 diabetes.
  • Injury to the pancreas  by infection, tumor, surgery or accident.
  • Presence of auto-antibodies or antibodies that mistakenly attack your own body’s tissues or organs
  • Physical stress.
  • Exposure to illnesses caused by viruses like Corons.

Those diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes know that their blood sugar level fluctuates drastically, and they need to monitor it regularly to keep it under control. But the blood sugar level is influenced by your daily activities, so the rise and fall in it is usual even in those not diagnosed with the condition. It becomes problematic when it remains consistently high or low.

A high blood sugar level or hyperglycemia is referred to as a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood. In non-diabetics, it can be due to factors like stress or other chronic conditions. Even if the person is not diagnosed with diabetes, it is vital to manage the blood sugar level. Persistent high blood sugar levels can make it difficult for the body to heal, increase the risk of infection and may have a long-term impact on other organs like eyes and kidneys. Over time, it can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. If the fasting glucose level is between 100–125 mg/dL or greater than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating, it is called as hyperglycemia.

Many factors like polycystic ovarian Syndrome, stress, infections, medication and obesity may cause diabetes.


The symptoms of diabetic hyperglycemia are:

  • Excessive thirst;
  • Frequent urination;
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Unhealthy lifestyle habits are the major cause of high blood sugar in diabetic patients. Poor diet and lack of physical activity are the main contributors. Skipping meals, lack of nutritious food, erratic food timing and lack of physical activity often result in high blood sugar levels. Besides, stress and poor sleep habits may also play some role in it. To manage the blood sugar level, it is crucial to managing your day- to-day activities. A healthy lifestyle can keep you in good health.


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