Hey Sugar, Feeling More Thirsty Than Usual?
Craving more than just a sip? Diabetes, is a widespread health concern touching the lives of millions globally, demands our attention. Ever wondered about the subtle signals your body might be sending? Let’s read this blog, a comprehensive guide to diabetes, explore its effects, and explain the crucial role early detection plays in managing this condition.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that occurs when the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels effectively.
Blood glucose levels are tightly regulated in the human body to ensure a stable and optimal environment for cellular function. The primary organs involved in this regulation are the pancreas, liver, and muscles.
Role of the Pancreas:
The pancreas plays a crucial role in blood glucose regulation. It contains clusters of cells called the Islets of Langerhans, which include beta cells. These beta cells produce and release insulin in response to elevated blood glucose levels.
Insulin and Glucagon:
- Insulin is a hormone that facilitates the uptake of glucose by cells, especially muscle and fat cells. It also promotes the storage of glucose in the liver in the form of glycogen.
- When blood glucose levels drop, alpha cells in the pancreas release glucagon. Glucagon stimulates the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. These glycogens stored for long time converts into fat and gets deposited in the liver and its tissue. This causes fatty liver hence this needs to be regulated via exercise and physical activity.
The liver acts as a glucose reservoir. It stores glucose as glycogen when levels are high and releases it when needed to maintain blood glucose levels.
Muscles can take up glucose without insulin during physical activity, providing an additional mechanism for blood glucose regulation.
Also, Read: Gestational Diabetes
When blood glucose levels are too high (hyperglycemia):
a) Insulin Release:
- In response to elevated blood glucose levels, the pancreas releases insulin.
- Insulin promotes the uptake of glucose by cells, reducing blood glucose levels.
b) Glycogen Storage:
- Excess glucose is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen.
In Individuals with diabetes:
• Type 1 Diabetes:
o Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease. It is diagnosed most between ages 10 and 16. Type 1 diabetes equally affects males and females. In this condition, the pancreas does not produce insulin. Young individuals with type 1 diabetes must receive insulin externally to regulate blood glucose levels.
• Type 2 Diabetes:
o In type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. This leads to elevated blood glucose levels. Management may involve lifestyle changes, oral hypoglycemic drugs, or insulin therapy.
The rising prevalence of Diabetes
In India, the prevalence of diabetes is a growing concern. Shockingly, an estimated 77 million people over the age of 18 have type 2 diabetes, and nearly 25 million individuals are pre-diabetic.
What’s even more concerning is that more than half of the Indian population is unaware of their diabetic status. This lack of awareness can lead to serious health complications if the condition goes undetected.
What are the symptoms of Diabetes?
Common symptoms of diabetes can vary depending on the type of diabetes, but they generally include:
- Polyuria (Frequent Urination): Elevated blood glucose levels can lead to increased urine production, causing frequent urination.
- Polydipsia (Excessive Thirst): Excessive loss of fluids through frequent urination can result in increased thirst.
- Polyphagia (Increased Hunger): Cells may be deprived of energy due to the inability of glucose to enter cells, leading to increased hunger.
- Unexplained Weight Loss: Despite increased hunger, individuals with diabetes may experience weight loss due to the body using muscle and fat for energy.
- Fatigue: Insufficient glucose utilisation by cells can lead to fatigue and a feeling of general weakness.
- Blurred Vision: Changes in fluid levels in the body, including the lenses of the eyes, can lead to blurred vision.
- Slow Wound Healing: High blood glucose levels can impair the body’s ability to heal wounds and injuries.
- Frequent Infections: Diabetes can weaken the immune system, leading to an increased susceptibility to infections.
What are the common tests for Diabetes?
The diagnosis of diabetes involves various blood tests to measure blood glucose levels. The commonly used tests include:
1. Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) Test:
This test measures blood glucose levels after an overnight fast. A fasting blood glucose level of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher on two separate occasions is indicative of diabetes.
2. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT):
The OGTT involves fasting overnight and then drinking a solution containing a specific amount of glucose. Blood glucose levels are measured before and two hours after drinking the solution. A two-hour blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher is indicative of diabetes.
3. Random Blood Sugar Test:
A blood sample is taken at a random time, regardless of when the individual last ate. A blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher, along with diabetes symptoms, may indicate diabetes.
4. Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c) Test:
This test provides an average of blood glucose levels over a few months. An HbA1c level of 6.5% or higher is indicative of diabetes.
It’s important to note that a diagnosis of diabetes is typically based on the results of more than one test. Additionally, healthcare providers consider the individual’s symptoms, medical history, and risk factors. Early diagnosis and management of diabetes are crucial to prevent complications and promote better health outcomes. If someone experiences symptoms associated with diabetes, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and testing.
What is the importance of early detection?
The good news is that detecting diabetes early can greatly improve one’s ability to manage it effectively and avoid the rollercoaster of sugar spikes and crashes. Early intervention can help individuals make necessary lifestyle changes, monitor their blood sugar levels, and prevent the progression of the condition.
Let’s understand the treatment and management of Diabetes:
Diabetes management involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and, in some cases, insulin therapy. The goal is to maintain blood glucose levels within a target range to prevent complications associated with high or low blood sugar.
1. Lifestyle Changes:
• Weight Management: Achieving an optimal weight, typically determined by the Height-100 rule, is crucial. Excess weight is linked to metabolic syndrome, increasing the risk of pre-diabetes or diabetes with abnormalities in liver function tests (LFT) and disrupted cholesterol levels.
• Dietary Modifications: Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet is essential. This includes monitoring carbohydrate intake, choosing complex carbohydrates, and incorporating fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
• Regular Exercise: Physical activity helps improve insulin sensitivity and glucose utilisation. It is recommended to engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
Oral Medications: Depending on the type of diabetes, healthcare providers may prescribe oral medications to help control blood glucose levels. These medications work in various ways, such as increasing insulin sensitivity, reducing glucose production by the liver, or enhancing insulin secretion.
3. Insulin Therapy:
Type 1 Diabetes: Young individuals with type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy because their pancreas does not produce insulin. This is typically administered as advised by doctor either through injections or an insulin pump.
Type 2 Diabetes: In advanced stages or when oral medications are insufficient, insulin therapy may be recommended to control blood glucose levels effectively.
4. Blood Glucose Monitoring:
Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is crucial for diabetes management.
Diabetes education is an integral part of management. It helps individuals understand their condition, manage medications, interpret glucose monitoring results, and make informed lifestyle choices.
5. Regular Health Check-ups:
Regular check-ups with healthcare providers are important to monitor overall health and assess the impact of diabetes on various organs and systems.
Onsurity by your side
As your healthcare partner, Onsurity provides the advantage of a comprehensive diabetes health checkup, all at an affordable price. This extensive checkup can help individuals gain valuable insights into their health status and take proactive measures to manage diabetes effectively.
In conclusion, diabetes is a widespread health concern, and its prevalence is on the rise. It’s crucial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and the importance of early detection. By recognising the signs, seeking timely medical advice, and taking advantage of comprehensive health checkups, individuals can effectively manage diabetes and lead a healthy life.
Remember, early detection is key to taking control of your health and well-being. Don’t wait until it’s too late – take charge of your health today. By staying informed and proactive, we can work towards a healthier and diabetes-aware society.