Diabetes is known to affect a large number of both young and the adults in the Indian society. The prevalence of Diabetes has increased over the past many years, earlier known to occur in the high socioeconomic groups but now, also common in the lower socioeconomic strata.
Why does Diabetes occur?
It takes place due to the lack of insulin production by the pancreas in the body, or due to the insulin being ineffective, known as insulin resistance. Insulin mainly prevents blood sugar levels to rise beyond normal ranges.
Diabetes though of many varieties, can mainly be classified as Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes mellitus.
Type 1 Diabetes, more common in the younger age group, differs from Type 2 in the form that it is mainly caused by reduced insulin production by the beta cells of pancreas, resulting in actual insulin deficiency, hence more commonly responds to Insulin based treatments and not the oral anti diabetic agents.
Type 2 Diabetes mellitus, on the other hand, occurs more commonly in older age group, obese, and occurs due to insulin resistance, and responds well to oral anti diabetic agents initially, although requires insulin based treatments later on as the disease progresses.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can occur in any age group, as overlap exists.
Risk factors for diabetes-
- Hereditary – family history
- Obesity, overweight
- Stagnant lifestyle, physical inactivity
- Genetic predisposition
- Pancreatic disease – due to alcoholism, infections etc
- Heart disease
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome/ Acanthosis nigricans
How does having diabetes harm our body?
- Cardiovascularsystem – diabetes is a major risk factor for developing atherosclerosis (thinning of the diameter of the blood vessel due to plaque formation) which predisposes the person to myocardial infarction (heart attacks), cardiomyopathy, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), Brain Stoke (paralysis) etc.
- Nervous system- diabetic neuropathy, it slowly damages the nerves resulting is tingling, numbness, painful sensation of the hands and feet, later on followed by ulcers on the feet due to reduced sensation of the feet, also it is one of the major risk factors for Stroke (brain attack/ paralysis)
- Eye – causes diabetic retinopathy, resulting in visual problems
- Kidney – Diabetic Kidney Disease or diabetic nephropathy is one of the most common causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the world. It slowly damages the blood vessels of the kidney to cause renal ailments eventually requiring dialysis, hemodialysis, or renal transplant in some patients.
- Delayed healing of wounds and ulcers
- Reduced immunity of the body, predisposing the body to many infections.
- Skin changes
- Ear infections
When to suspect you have diabetes –
- Weight loss
- Increased thirst (polydipsia)
- Increased frequency of urination (polyuria)
- Fatigue (easy tiredness)
- Blurring of vision
How to diagnose if you have diabetes or not –
Blood sugar levels can be measured by a simple pin-prick glucometer at home, or by taking blood sample and running it in the laboratory, which is more reliable.
- Fasting blood sugar (FBS) levels – 70-100 mg/dl
- Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) – 100-125 mg/dl
- Diabetes – >125 mg/dl
Post prandial (2 hours post meal, glucose levels) PPBS
- Normal – < 140 mg/dl
- Glucose intolerance – 140-199 mg/dl
- Diabetes – > 200 mg/dl
The gold standard for detecting diabetes mellitus is the HBA1Ctest, which tells the control of diabetes over last 3 months, is unaffected by recent meal intakes.
- Normal values – below 5.7
- Pre diabetes 5.7 – 6.5
- Diabetes >6.5
Management of diabetes is not just strictly sticking to the normal glucose values, as the normal ranges differ for different people and different age groups. Hence management of diabetes must be guided by an expert physician always.
It can be managed by Diet, Exercise, Oral Hypoglycaemic Agents, or in the end Insulin.
Diabetes though seems to be a minute thing, but if uncontrolled can cause widespread damage to your body!!!