Diabetes is a life long disease that is characterised by increased levels of sugar in the blood. It is either caused due to lack of a hormone produced by the pancreas or due to lack of response to this hormone. Diabetes caused by lack of this hormone is called type 1 diabetes. It develops due to fault in the genes that make this chemical and is seen in young adults and teenagers. Diabetes caused by failure of response to this hormone is called type 2 diabetes. It is more common type of diabetes and is found in adults. It is caused mainly due to lifestyle factors. Some of the common symptoms of diabetes are hunger, frequent urination and increased thirst. Factors like unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and obesity are main contributing factors of type 2 diabetes. In fact, type 2 diabetes is one of the most common ‘lifestyle diseases’ which is plaguing people in the developed countries. Diabetes is also known to cause complications like heart diseases and hypertension. In this section, you will find answers to all your queries regarding diabetes.
Lack of proper exercise and sedentary lifestyle is undoubtedly one of the common causes of type 2 diabetes. It is due to lack of response to this hormone that in turn increases glucose levels in the body. However, a fault in the genes that produce this chemical cause type 1 diabetes, which is seen in teenagers and young adults. As compared to type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is quite common in India.
You can diagnose diabetes depending on the symptoms like excessive hunger and thirst and frequent urination. And it can be confirmed with a simple blood test done on an empty test and after having your meals. It is important to control your sugar levels as it might increase your risk of obesity, hypertension, heart disease or kidney problems. While type 1 diabetes is quite difficult to manage, type 2 diabetes can be easily controlled by making simple changes in your daily routine. Here are all your queries related to diabetes and its types, answered.
Diabetes is a life long disease that is characterised by increased levels of sugar in the blood. It is mainly classified into 3 types:
Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile-onset diabetes is caused due to lack of a hormone in the body.
Type 2 Diabetes: It is more common type of diabetes mainly caused due to lifestyle factors like unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle, stress, etc.
Gestational diabetes: During pregnancy, there is an increase in the blood sugar levels of the pregnant woman leading to diabetes. Here are 8 facts about diabetes you didn’t know.
Diabetes has emerged as a major threat over the past few decades and is still spreading at epidemic levels across the world. A number of factors are responsible for the dramatic rise in numbers. Read about
Here are top four risk factors of diabetes you should be aware of.
Age: As a person ages, several parts of his/her body stop functioning at their optimum best. This can lead to diabetes, along with several other ailments. Read to know if you are at an increased risk of diabetes?
Genes: Genes can be responsible for causing both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Having certain combination of genes may increase or decrease the risk of diabetes. If your parents were diabetics, you should be extra careful about your lifestyle.
Obesity: A British health report has warned that adults with a large waistline are five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. According to the report, women with a large waist circumference of over 88cm (34.6 inches) are three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Read about can your waistline predict your diabetes risk?
Smoking: While our dietary habits exert great influence on the development of diabetes, lifestyle factors do have an influence too, most notably smoking. Experts are of the opinion that smoking is a very significant risk factor for diabetes. Read to know why smoking is bad for diabetics.
how to reduce your risk of diabetes.
Our digestive system breaks down whatever food we eat into glucose. This glucose is absorbed by the blood with the help of a hormone produced by the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when the body is not able to produce this hormone or is not able to use it effectively. Read about is diabetes ruining your sex life?
Here are some of the reasons why this happens.
1. Autoimmune destruction of beta cells
Sometimes, our own immune system may recognise the beta cells that produce this hormone as antigens, and create antibodies to destroy them. Often, diabetes is diagnosed after most of the cells are destroyed and the patient then needs a daily dose of the deficient hormone to survive.
2. Lack of physical activity
Lack of exercise and obesity can be major causes of Type 2 diabetes. Just 30 minutes of physical activity reduces the chances of you having diabetes by 30 per cent. So, make sure you include activities like walking and cycling in your daily timetable. Planning to exercise? here are some exercise tips for diabetics that might help.
3. Certain drugs
Certain medicines like nicotinic acid, psychiatric drugs, diuretics, etc. can destroy the beta cells that produce the hormone or disrupt its absorption.
4. Pancreatic disease or injury
Since the beta cells are present in the pancreas – any injury or diseases like cancer, pancreatitis, etc. can stop beta cells from functioning and ultimately lead to diabetes.
Here are 10 healthy resolutions every diabetic should follow for a better life.
In diabetes, the body is unable to absorb glucose which leads to a host of problems. Here are some of the symptoms that could indicate diabetes:
1. Increase in appetite
2. Frequent urination
3. Feeling too thirsty
4. Loss of weight
5. Feeling fatigued all day long
6. Frequent infections
7. Poor wound healing
8. High irritability/Depression
9. Blurred vision
Here is additional information on early symptoms of diabetes.
Diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests, and the three tests used for diagnosing diabetes are:
1. A1C test or glycohaemoglobin test
This test is used for diagnosing Type 2 diabetes. It measures a person’s average blood glucose levels over the past three months. Here's why diabetics should get HbA1c levels tested twice a year.
If a person’s A1C level is below 5.7%, it means that he/she is normal. If it is between 5.7 to 6.4%, it indicates prediabetes which may lead to diabetes if appropriate measures are not taken. A person is diagnosed with diabetes if he/she has an A1C level of 5.7% or above.
2. Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test
The Fasting Plasma Glucose test is the most common test used for diagnosing diabetes. It is performed by measuring a person’s blood sugar level, after he/she has fasted for at least 8 hours. Read about how often should diabetics use a glucometer to monitor blood glucose levels?
If a person has a fasting glucose level of 126 mg/dL or above, he or she has diabetes. It is advised to repeat the test on another day for confirmation.
3. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
In an oral glucose tolerance test, a person has to fast for at least 8 hours. After that, he/she has to drink a glass of water mixed with 75g of glucose. You can also download these smartphone apps to manage diabetes better.
If a person’s 2-hour blood glucose-level is between 140 to 199 mg/dL, the person has prediabetes which could lead to diabetes if appropriate measures are not taken. If the blood glucose-level is above 200 mg/dL, then the person is diagnosed with diabetes.
Here is your guide to ten life-saving tests for a better health.
If your diabetes can’t be controlled with diet, exercise and weight control, your doctor may recommend anti-diabetic medications or insulin. Most people who have type 2 diabetes start with an oral medicine. Also read about what is diabetes management surgery?Here are some of them:
Read to know more on medicines for diabetes — types, side effects, drug interactions.
- Drugs that act on your pancreas like Sulfonylureas (DiaBeta, Glucotrol, Amaryl, etc.), meglitinides (Prandin, Starlix, etc.) and victoza (lyraglutide)
- Drugs that decrease the amount of glucose released from the liver like biguanides (Metformin)
- Drugs that increase the sensitivity (response) of cells to insulin like Thiazolidinediones (Actos and Avandia)
- Drugs that decrease the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine like acarbose
- Drugs that slow emptying of the stomach like exenatide (Byetta), DPP-IV inhibitors (Januvia, Onglyza, Tradjenta) and insulin Injections.
Diabetes, if uncontrolled can lead to detrimental health complications.
1. Effect on fat and metabolism (Diabetic ketoacidosis): If you’re not taking your insulin doses regularly, have fever,diarrhoea,vomiting and/or going through a lot of stress or are an alcoholic, you need to be extra careful about developing this condition called ‘ketoacidosis’.
2. Effect on the eyes (Diabetic retinopathy): The early symptom of eye problems related to diabetes is blurred vision and double vision. It can also cause a severe, permanent loss of vision. Diabetes increases the risk of developing cataract and glaucoma. Here are eye care tips for diabetics.
3. Effect on kidneys (Diabetic nephropathy): If you notice swelling in your feet and legs or around your eyes, your kidneys might get affected because of the uncontrolled blood sugar levels. If you have hypertension (or high BP), your chances of developing this is even higher. Read about how uncontrolled diabetes can cause kidney failure and stroke.
4. Effect on nerves (Diabetic neuropathy): Diabetic gangrene (infection of the leg, leading to decay of flesh) can occur and the leg may have to be amputated. Uncontrolled diabetes can also affect nerves that control your heartbeat, blood pressure, digestion, blood flow to organs etc leading to diarrhoea, erectile dysfunction, loss of bladder control, vision changes, and dizziness.
5. Effect on heart: If you are a smoker, have high blood pressure, are grossly overweight and/or have a family history of diabetes and are diagnosed with diabetes, you have a greater risk of developing heart disease, strokes.
6. Erectile dysfunction: ‘According to statistics upto 60-70% of men having diabetes will experience problems with erection in their lifetime,’ says Dr Rajiv Kovil, consultant diabetologist. Here are 5 useful tips for diabetics to have better sex.
7. Hair loss: Diabetes negatively affects the body’s circulatory system. If diabetes is causing poor blood circulation to the scalp, the hair follicles will die resulting in hair loss. Furthermore, this poor circulation may prevent further hair growth. Here's what you should know about diabetes and hair loss.
If you are a diabetic, you are now more aware of the complications that would arise if you do not take your medications regularly and/or go for regular medical check-ups. If you aren't one, you better work on your lifestyle and diet habits so that you can prevent the disease. Also, exercise acts like a multi-intent drug that can work off several problems like obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol associated with diabetes. Here are some interesting exercise tips for diabetics.
Diabetes is a group of metabolic disorders that affects the body’s ability to either produce insulin or to use insulin effectively. According to statistics, India is fast becoming the diabetic capital of the world, and with a large number of young people being diagnosed with the condition, doctors are looking at newer techniques to treat the disorder. Ever wonder if there was something you could do at home to keep your blood sugar levels in check? Well, there is. Here are some of them:
Here are 7 tips for diabetics to reduce swelling in the feet.
- Holy Basil Leaves (Tulsi)
- Flax Seeds (Alsi)
- Leaves of bilberry plant (Neelabadari plant)
- Cinnamon (Dalchini)
- Green Tea
- Drumstick leaves
- Bittergourd (Karela)
- Indian blackberry (Jambul)
Diabetes, unfortunately, can bring with it a range of problems, from minor issues to chronic illnesses. Since diabetes has grave consequences, it is vital that you scroll through the options given below, and find a method that will help you to actively manage it. Here are some emerging alternative treatments for diabetes in India
Homeopathy - Homoeopathy works on matching the profile of the patient with the right prescription. Arsenicum album, Bryonia alba, Rhustox, Nat. Sulph, Phosphorus and Syzygium have been found to be effective in various cases of diabetes. But careful profiling is a must.
Ayurveda - Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu system of traditional medicine which uses diet, herbs and yoga to cure ailments. This includes use of fenugreek or methi, bitter gourd or karela, pterocarpus or vijaysar, gymnema or gurmar and guduchi or amrit. Here is expert advice on Ayurvedic treatment for diabetes.
Yoga – Apart from regular walking, incorporating regular yoga practice is found to be helpful for diabetics. Yoga poses involving meditation, proper breathing or pranayama, savasana or corpse pose and inversion poses are effective in revitalising the pancreas and pituitary gland, which plays a key role in regulating sugar levels in the body. Read about yoga asanas to treat diabetes.
Acupressure – Acupressure is one of the emerging natural treatments for a wide range of clinical conditions including diabetes. This treatment approach for diabetes involves recognising the organs affected and treating the diseases through its acupressure points.
Naturopathy – Naturopathy involves a combination of diet, exercise (yoga) and steam baths to activate the pancreas and helps in proper management of blood sugar levels in the body. Read to know how naturopathy helps in diabetes treatment.
Planetary gem therapy - Gem therapy in diabetics is administered based on the premise of making a sluggish body system faster. Gemstones that are suitable and can rev up the metabolism can help greatly. One’s birth chart should carefully assessed before suggesting gemstone remedial measures. Read in detail about how planetary gem therapy can help diabetics.
A lot is being said and written about controlling diabetes and living a healthy life with diabetes, but the prevention aspect of diabetes also needs to be highlighted. The most disturbing part of this disease is that you cannot tell if you’re destined to be a diabetic. Therefore, it’s better to take the right measures beforehand and keep diabetes at bay. Here is sample diet plan for diabetics by nutritionist Prema Kodical.
Here are few tips to prevent diabetes -
Apart from this, a healthy breakfast plays a key role in the prevention of diabetes.
The content has been verified by Dr Tanvi Chopda, Consultant Diabetologist, Apollo Sugar, Mumbai.
- Exercise regularly
- Eat fibre-rich carbohydrate diet
- Choose healthy fats
- Quit drinking sugary sodas
- Pick the right snacks
- Manage stress
- Get regular health check-ups
- Practise portion control
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Control your blood pressure