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November 14 is World Diabetes Day: Everything you need to know about this condition

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to easily preventable and serious health conditions like heart diseases, kidney problems, eye diseases, stroke, dental issues and nerve damage. © Shutterstock

Diabetes is a condition where you have a high level of glucose in your blood. On this World Diabetes Day, take a pledge to avoid this condition by maintaining overall health and fitness.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Published : November 12, 2019 8:42 PM IST

November 14 is World Diabetes Day. This is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the glucose level in your blood is too high. Your pancreas secretes the hormone insulin. This regulates the glucose that you get from food and converts it to energy. It facilitates the movement of this energy into the cells. But if there is any problem with the production of insulin, then the glucose stays in the blood. This is an incurable condition. But you can easily manage it and have a long and healthy life with just lifestyle and diet modifications. However, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to adverse health conditions with fatal consequences.

Our expert, Dr Howard Goldberg, MD, tells us that diabetes is a problem with the metabolism of sugar, which is used by the body as energy, especially the brain, heart and working muscles. He explains about conventional diabetes and explains how you can prevent this condition. Watch the video to know what to do if you develop this condition.

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Symptoms of diabetes

Common symptoms are increased hunger and thirst, unexplained weight loss, burning feet, frequent urination, blurry vision, fatigue and maybe sores that take a long time to heal. Recurring infections may also be an indication of this disorder. Men may notice poor muscle strength and experience a decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction. If you are a woman, you may be prone to urinary tract infections, yeast infections and dry, itchy skin in addition to the above symptoms.

Types and causes of diabetes

There are mainly 2 types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Sometimes, pregnancy may induce gestational diabetes too. This is usually resolved after delivery. But it increases a women's risk of type 2 diabetes later in later. This type of diabetes is probably caused by the hormonal changes that a pregnant woman goes through.

In type 1 diabetes, the production of insulin is impaired. The pancreas does not make any insulin. It is very common in children and young adults. But it can sometimes occur in older people too. Patients need a daily dose of insulin in type 1 diabetes. Health professionals are not very sure about what causes this condition. But most agree that it may be because the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

In type 2 or adult onset diabetes, the pancreas may not make enough insulin, or your body may not be able to use it well. This is the most common type of diabetes and can affect people of any age. It is usually the result of an unhealthy lifestyle though the genetic factor may be responsible too. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle contribute significantly to type 2 diabetes. It is also usually a hereditary condition.

One also hears of monogenic diabetes, an inherited condition, and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. But these are very rare and seen in very few patients.

Health risks of diabetes

If you have this condition, it is best to consult a doctor and get your blood sugar level under control. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to easily preventable and serious health conditions like heart diseases, kidney problems, eye diseases, stroke, dental issues and nerve damage. These are all serious disorders that can causes long term complications.

Managing diabetes naturally

You can manage and even prevent it in some cases. But type 1 diabetes is linked to an immune system disorder. As such, you may not be able to do much about it. But the same is not the case with type 2 diabetes. Though it may be linked to your genes, you can take certain steps to ensure that you minimise the risks. In fact, researchers from Newcastle University, UK, say that people who have had diabetes for even 10 years or so may still be able to reverse their condition.

But for that you need to lose weight and be healthy. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Anything that increases your heart rate can be taken as exercise, even if it is house work. Also make sure that you eat healthy. Avoid all saturated and trans fats, along with refined carbohydrates. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to keep your portions small. All this simple steps will help you to significantly bring down your risk of developing this condition.

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