WHAT IS DIABETES?
– Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to regulate the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
– Carbohydrates in our diet are broken down to glucose, and then absorbed into the blood stream. Glucose then moves into the cells of the body (mainly muscle cells) to be used as energy.
-Insulin facilitates the entry of glucose into the cells. Lack of insulin or inability of insulin to facilitate glucose entry into the cells leads to higher levels of glucose in the blood, called diabetes.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which regulates the blood glucose within a certain range. It can remove glucose from the blood and transport it into the cells of the body where it is needed for energy. Insulin also regulates the production of glucose by the liver and switches off production when the blood glucose is high.
– Normally, the body produces enough insulin to keep the blood glucose between ideal levels at all times by removing excess glucose from the blood and regulating how much the liver produces.
In diabetes people are not able to remove excess glucose from the blood and the blood glucose rises.
WHAT IS PREDIABETES?
Prediabetes means you have a higher than normal blood sugar level but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes yet. Adults and children with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if lifestyle changes including healthy eating habits, regular exercise and maintaining healthy body weight are not taken seriously.
TYPES OF DIABETES:
Type 1 Diabetes:
-Usually seen in children and young adults.
-the persons own immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produces the insulin. The lack of insulin therefore requires these patients to take insulin injections.
Type 2 Diabetes:
-Usually develops in adults over the age of 40. Type 2 diabetes has started to appear more often in children because of the rise in obesity in young people.
Person still makes insulin but in lesser amounts or the insulin does not work efficiently, called insulin resistance. This type is managed by diet and exercise, and some people may need oral medications or insulin as diabetes progresses.
-This develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
– Less common causes are some inherited forms and cystic fibrosis related diabetes.
RISK FACTORS for Type 2 diabetes are:
-if you are age 45 or older,
– have a family history of diabetes,
– Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. -You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant.
COMMON SYMPTOMS of diabetes:
Diabetes type 1 diabetes often occur suddenly and can be severe. They include:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
- Blurred vision
- Labored, heavy breathing (Kussmaul respirations)
- Loss of consciousness (rare)
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be the same as those listed above. Most often, there are no symptoms or a very gradual development of the above symptoms. Other symptoms may include:
- Slow-healing sores or cuts
- Itching of the skin
- Yeast infections
- Recent weight gain
- Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet
- Impotence or erectile dysfunction
- Prediabetes: Results indicating prediabetes are
- An Hemoglobin A1C of 5.7 – 6.4
- Fasting blood sugar of 100 – 125 mg/dl
- An oral glucose tolerance test 2 hour blood sugar of 140 mg/dl – 199 mg/dl
Diabetes: Results indicating diabetes are
An Hemoglobin A1C greater than or equal to 6.5
Fasting blood sugar greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl
An oral glucose tolerance test 2 hour blood sugar greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl
COMPLICATIONS of uncontrolled diabetes
Strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure including need for dialysis, vision problems and vision loss, nerve damage, circulation problems leading to amputations and so forth.
MANAGEMENT of diabetes:
Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.
Research has shown that significant weight loss can reverse Type 2 diabetes. Even losing a small amount of weight gives you better blood glucose control and can help prevent complications from diabetes. Diabetes can be prevented by lifestyle changes including healthy eating, staying physically active and maintaining healthy body weight. If diet and exercise are not enough in controlling your blood sugar you may need oral pills, injectable drugs or insulin therapy.
Disclaimer: The information is intended to provide general education for patients and their families. The information provided does not constitute medical or health care advice for any individual and is not a substitute for medical and other professional advice and service.
Dr. Mahesh Ochaney is a solo practitioner who has been practicing Internal Medicine since 1991. Dr. Ochaney’s compassionate primary care has been recognized several times over the years, including being named a 2018 Top Doctor by Baltimore Magazine and receiving a State of Maryland Governor’s Citation.