Diabetes is a chronic and lifelong metabolic condition in which a person’s blood sugar levels remain very high. In medical terminology, this condition is referred to as diabetes mellitus.
Fast facts about diabetes
Diabetes is a serious illness in which a person suffers from high blood glucose levels. It is caused by the pancreas inability to produce insulin, or the cells of the body being unable to respond to insulin produced, or both.
An estimated 382 million people globally suffer from diabetes. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)reports, from the year 1980 through 2010, the number of diabetes patients in America above age 18 tripled, soaring from 5.5 million to 20.7 million. There have been no breakthroughs to slow the advance of this disease; in 2011, 25.8 million people have been declared diabetic.
Type1 and Type 2are the most common forms of diabetes. The former accountsfor 10% of all cases;90% of all diabetes cases are Type 2. In addition, there is another kind known as gestationaldiabetes, which is common among pregnant women. Frequent urination, unusual weight loss, fatigue and excessive thirst and appetite are some of the common symptoms of diabetes.
What causes diabetes?
In Type 2 diabetes, thebody becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas stop producing enough insulin. The exact cause of diabetesis still unclear, but many studies have pointed togenetics and environmentbeing contributing factors.Here are some of the possible causes of diabetes:
• Obesity or being overweightStudies have shown that four out of five people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, proving that being obese puts you at significant risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Fat induces a mild, low-grade inflammation throughout the body which contributes toconditions like heart disease and diabetes. Excess fatprevents cells in the body from using insulin, and this insulin resistence leads to high blood sugar levels.
• GeneticsIf you have a close relative like a parent, brother or sister who is diabetic, then you have a high risk of developing the condition.
• Ethnicity The number of diabetes cases are 2-4 times higher among African-Americans, American Indians, Latin Americans and people of Asian/Pacific origin as compared to white women.
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Complications caused by diabetes
Symptoms of diabetescan be easily overlooked in the early stages of the disease. As it progresses, it affects different organs of the body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Long-term complications of diabetes, which can be life-threatening, develop gradually.
Here are some of the possible complications that diabetes can cause:
• Nerve damage elevated glucose levels can damage the walls of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the nerves, especially in the legs. This condition can cause numbness, tingling, burning or painfulsensations at the tip of the toes or fingers which gradually spread upward.
• Heart and blood vessel disease Excess glucose levels in the body increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, like heart attacks, strokes and coronary artery diseases.
• Kidney damageDiabetes can impair the kidneys that filter waste from your blood. Severe damage to the kidneys can lead to renal failure, which often requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.
• Alzheimer’s disease Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but the exact connection between Alzheimer’s and diabetes remains unclear.
What is the treatment for diabetes?
You can reverse the condition by lessening the symptoms of diabetes with proper medication, management and changes in diet.
By following these steps, you can reverse symptoms of diabetesand also delay or prevent complications:
• Eat healthy Follow your dietician’s advice because he/she will advise you about what to and what not to eat. You can eat natural foods like fig leaves, cinnamon and fenugreek seeds to combat your condition. A variety of fruits and vegetables may also be recommended for your daily diet as they may cut the diabetes risk by 22%.
• Maintain a healthy weightEnsure you get some physical exercise by brisk walking, jogging or evencycling. It will help keep your weight in check and reduce the risk of diabetes.
• Medications A drug called Metformin reduces the amount of glucose that the liver releases into the bloodstream. It also improves the sensitivity of body tissues to insulin. Another diabetes medication is Sulfonylureas, which includes Glyburide, Glipizide and Glimepiride. Sulfonylureas are very efficient and also help the body secrete more insulin.
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Diabetes is an incurable disease, and the reality is that thosediagnosed with this condition have to live with it till their last breath. In order to best manage the disease, you just need to follow your doctor’s recommendations.