Diabetes – Everything You Should Know

Diabetes, according to the Oxford Dictionary of English, is a medical condition caused by a lack of insulin, which makes the patient produce a lot of urine and feel very thirsty.

It can also be defined as a disease condition in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas of the body. Insulin controls the amount of sugar or glucose absorbed by the blood.

The blood glucose level in diabetic patients is higher than normal. The hormone insulin acts like a key. When we eat, the body turns the food into energy, and then the pancreas releases insulin to help transport the energy into cells.

The chemical message triggers the cell to open and receive glucose. If insulin production is little or none, the insulin-resistant leads to too much sugar, which remains in your blood.

There are two main types of diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetes, and
  • Type 2 diabetes.

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in adolescence. This type of diabetes needs emergency care as it can be managed with treatment but can’t be cured. Laboratory tests or imaging is always required here as it can last for years or even a lifetime.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

When the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin the condition results in Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed later in life, generally after the age of 45 and above, therefore it is also referred to as adult-onset diabetes. In recent years, Type 2 diabetes can equally be diagnosed in younger people, including children, more frequently than in the past. Type 2 diabetes is very common and accounts for 90-95 percent of people with diabetes. Women, however, are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Are there other forms of diabetes?

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman who does not have diabetes develops high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Depending on the population studied, gestational diabetes affects 3–9% of pregnancies. It affects 1% of those under the age of 20 and 13% of those over the age of 44. It is especially common during the last three months of pregnancy. A number of ethnic groups are at higher risk including American Indians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Indigenous Australians.

In 90% of cases, gestational diabetes will resolve after the baby is born. Babies born to mothers with poorly treated gestational diabetes are at increased risk of being too large, having jaundice and low blood sugar after birth. If untreated, it can also result in a stillbirth. Long term, children are at higher risk of being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is caused by not enough insulin in the setting of insulin resistance. Risk factors include being overweight, previously having gestational diabetes, a family history of type 2 diabetes, and having polycystic ovarian syndrome. Diagnosis is by blood tests. For those at normal risk, screening is recommended between 24 and 28 weeks’ gestation. For those at high risk, testing may occur at the first prenatal visit.

Prevention is done mainly by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising before pregnancy. But when developed, it is treated with exercise, a diabetic diet, and possibly insulin injections. Blood sugar testing among those who are affected is often recommended four times a day. Breastfeeding is recommended as soon as possible after birth

Prediabetes

Prediabetes means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal. This is a condition in which your blood glucose levels are too high, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Usually, People who develop type 2 diabetes have prediabetes first. If you have prediabetes, you are at much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other health conditions, including heart disease or stroke. The good news about this is that, if you have prediabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of full-blown type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes. These include eating a healthy diet, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly.

If you have any of the health issues bellow, then you are at risk of developing prediabetes.

  • Overweight or obesity.
  • A family history of diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes or had a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth.
  • You are an African American, Native American, Latin American or Asian/Pacific Islander.
  • High blood pressure (above 140/90 mm Hg).
  • Low HDL cholesterol level (“good” cholesterol) (less than 40 mg per dL for men or 50 mg per dL for women), or higher triglyceride level above 250 mg per dL.
  • You are a woman who has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

What Causes Diabetes?

Different causes are associated with each type of diabetes. But in general genetics, lifestyle factors and environmental factors are the causes of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune response. The body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Eating an unhealthy diet, being overweight or obese and not exercising enough may play a role in developing diabetes particularly type 2 diabetes.

The effects of diabetes on the body

Diabetes can be effectively managed when caught early. However, when left untreated, it can lead to potential complications that include heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and nerve damage. Normally after you eat or drink, your body will break down sugars from your food and use them for energy in your cells. To accomplish this, your pancreas needs to produce a hormone called insulin, which facilitates the process of pulling sugar from the blood and putting it in the cells for use.

If you have diabetes, your pancreas either produces too little insulin or none at all. The insulin can’t be used effectively. This allows blood glucose levels to rise while the rest of your cells are deprived of much-needed energy. This can lead to a wide variety of problems affecting nearly every major body system.

The symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Increased tiredness
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision

How to find out if you have diabetes?

This could be identified during your routine exam by the eye and foot doctors. An eye doctor could suspect that you may have diabetes during a routine eye check if he find out that the tiny blood vessels in your eyes are affected. On the same note, your foot doctor may suspect that you may have diabetes during a routine foot check if he find out that the circulation to your feet are affected. In both cases, they will recommend you see your regular physician for a blood sugar level test.

The most common is the one your doctor will take a blood sample from your vain after at least eight hours of fasting, usually overnight. It is known as a fasting blood sugar test.

In general, a fasting blood sugar level below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is considered normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes (sometimes called impaired fasting glucose). A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher indicates type 2 diabetes.

When you notice signs of diabetes, the best thing to do is to see the doctor so he or she can run a checkup tests to determine whether or not you have prediabetes of diabetes. Your doctor will make recommendations to bring down your blood sugar level, so that you can delay the development of type 2 diabetes or to treat the disease if it has developed at the level of notice.

If the word “diet” immediately makes you think of an unpleasant weight-loss regimen, you are probably not alone. Considering the use of the term “diet” in marketing food products for example, it usually describes foods such as diet soda, which are low in calories.

Diet can also refer to the meal (food) and drink you consumes every day and night. It could also be mental and physical circumstances connected to eating. Nutrition is about nourishment of the body on every level; it involves more than simply eating a “good” diet. It involves nature which is the environment you found yourself, relationship with family, our bodies, friends, our community and the world.

When you take a healthy diet regularly, you can decrease your risk of having diabetes by keep your cholesterol and blood sugar level within a safe range. Good dieting habits can help prevent certain health issues or conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

In the last 30 years, obesity rates have doubled in adults, tripled in children and quadrupled in the adolescent. An unhealthy diet contributes to approximately 678,000 deaths each year, just in the U.S. due to nutrition and obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Why do people get into an unhealthy diet, and how can a bad diet increase the risk of diabetes?

Weight loss has come to be of great concern in some people’s life which has caused them to start dieting. Many people have an area of their life that they can’t control, take an alcohol addict for example, they feel they can focus on something like their exercise and what they eat that they most likely to control

It is a very difficult thing for many people to control their eating habits. Taking foods that are high in starch (sugar), calories, and fats, increases your risk of having diabetes. A poor diet can lead to another risk factor for diabetes which is obesity and other health problems. A healthy diet is the one high in fiber and low in sugar, fat, salt, and cholesterol. Also, remember to watch your meal portion size.

Free diet plan for healthy living

Your body gets the nutrients it requires every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for sugar control with a healthy eating plan. A healthy eating plan also will lower your risk for having diabetes and other health conditions.

Unless your doctor is monitoring you, very low-calorie diets of fewer than 800 calories per day should not be used as a diet plan.

Eating healthy should be your goal from today, like replacing full-fat versions of foods such as yogurt, milk, and salad dressing with the low-fat or fat-free kind.

The best way to give your body the balanced nutrition it needs is by eating a variety of nutrients every day; making sure that you do not exceed your body’s calorie needs.

 Below are 8 healthy eating planning that can help you make healthier choices

The “key” to healthy dieting is to take the right amount of calories for how active you are, so you can balance the energy you use with the energy you consume. If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you’ll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat.

  • Do not skip breakfast: with the mindset that it will help them lose weight, many people skip their breakfast. But a healthy breakfast high in fiber and low in sugar, fat, and salt can form part of a balanced diet. It helps you get the nutrients you need for good health daily.
  • Get active: regular exercise is very important for your overall health and wellbeing because it helps reduce your risk of getting serious health issues as well as eating healthy.
  • Do not get thirsty: to avoid getting dehydrated, you need to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish: fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals.
  • Eat less salt (not more than 6g a day for adult): If you eat too much salt, your blood pressure may raise which is another risk factor for having diabetes. Use food labels to help you cut down more than 1.5g of salt per 100g.
  • Cut down on saturated fat and sugar: it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat you’re eating despite the fact that you need some fat in your diet.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables: it is recommended that you eat more than 5 portions of variety of fruit and vegetable every day. They can be fresh, frozen, dried or juiced.
  • Base your meals on higher fiber starchy carbohydrates: starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. Keep an eye on the fats that you add when you’re cooking because, it increases the calorie content. For example, oil on chips, butter on bread and creaming sauces on pasta.

How Dieting Can Rollback Early Stage of Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be reversed in people newly diagnosed with diabetes with an extreme eight to ten-weeks diet of 600 calories a day. A study by the Newcastle University researchers found that low-calorie diet reduced fat levels in the pancreas and liver, which helped insulin production return to normal.

Can Dieting Help the Late Stage of Diabetes?

It is important to eat at least 3 meals per day and never skip a meal. Eat at about the same time every day because this helps keep your insulin and sugar levels steady. Your diet should include less fat and complex whole grains. Avoid empty calories, such as foods high in sugar and fat, or alcohol.

In conclusion, I encourage the general public to go for a regular checkup, especially when any of the symptoms are noticed

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Increased tiredness.

And you are recommended to follow the healthy food planning for a better healthy living and to avoid having diabetes.