Insidious threats are quietly creeping into the global health landscape, affecting millions of people, often unnoticed until it is too late. Diabetes, also known as the “sweet silent killer,” is a chronic disease that requires attention, understanding, and proactive measures for both prevention and treatment.
Understanding Diabetes: The Silent Intruder
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood sugar levels. This disease occurs because the body is unable to produce enough insulin or use the insulin it does produce effectively. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, plays an important role in regulating blood sugar levels and encouraging blood sugar to enter cells for energy.
The Various Types of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes: This form of diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin. Here type I diabetes, which is insulin dependent, requires artificial insulin every day to survive.
Type 2 diabetes: The way the body uses insulin is affected by her type 2 diabetes. Unlike type I diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but the body’s cells no longer respond to insulin as they once did. High blood sugar levels are a typical sign of this type of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is also called “adult-onset diabetes”. This is because it occurs almost exclusively in middle age and late adulthood.
Gestational Diabetes: This type affects pregnant women because it reduces the body’s insulin sensitivity. Gestational diabetes does not affect all women and usually disappears after the birth of the child.
Prediabetes: The term prediabetes refers to blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. On the other hand, people with prediabetes are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes even if they have no symptoms of the disease.
Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:
- High cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Gestational diabetes
- PCOS or PCOD disease
- Lack of physical activity
- Over 45 years of age
Consequences Of Diabetes:
Diabetes if left untreated can lead to diabetic coma. This occurs due to complications of the disease. Diabetic coma is caused by dangerously high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) or dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is a potentially dangerous situation. People with diabetes who take medications that increase insulin levels in the body may experience hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of low sugar include:
- Blurred vision
- Prickling lips or skin
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of consciousness
- Sudden anxiety
Hyperglycemia: High blood sugar level daily or sugar if ingested over a long period of time, can damage nerves, blood vessels, and organs. It can also cause many complex health problems. Ketoacidosis, a buildup of acid in the blood, is common in people with type 1 diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk for it, very high blood sugar levels can prevent your body from absorbing sugar, which can be fatal.
This disease is known as hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). In this case, the person urinates more often at first, but then urinates less frequently. Your urine will become dark in color and you may become severely dehydrated.
Other symptoms of high blood sugar and uncontrolled diabetes include:
- Frequent dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Vomiting and nausea
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Breath that smells like fruit
- Fast pulse
How Early Detection Can Help
If you develop any symptoms, you should get tested immediately. Some people are asymptomatic. This means you may not have any symptoms, but you should be tested to see if you have risk factors for diabetes.
Early testing can help your doctor better manage your disease, create a treatment and wellness program, and put you on the path to good health.
Blood Glucose Test to detect Diabetes Includes:
Fasting Plasma Glucose Test: This test measures your blood sugar level after you have not eaten anything for at least 8 hours. This test is used to determine whether a patient is diabetic or prediabetic.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: This test tests your blood sugar levels after you have fasted for at least 8 hours and ingested fluids containing glucose for 2 hours. This test determines whether you have diabetes or prediabetes.
Random Blood Glucose Test: Doctors recommend this test any time there are symptoms of diabetes, without waiting for the patient to fast.
Hemoglobin A1c Test: This is a new standard used as a screening tool or diagnostic method for prediabetes and diabetes. This system is typically used for long-term monitoring of blood sugar regulation in diabetic patients. The doctor usually recommends a HbA1c test every 3 months to measure average blood sugar levels.
If your HbA1c value is between 5.7 and 6.4%, you are prediabetic. This can be improved by changing your lifestyle and diet. Diabetes is diagnosed if the HbA1c level is above 6.5%.
Diabetes is a common cause of end-stage renal disease, non-traumatic lower extremity amputations, and the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults. Diabetes Management Diabetes is on the rise and can lead to complications, but early detection, appropriate medication and treatment, and expert medical advice can help you live a normal life.
Doctors usually refer people with diabetes to a dietitian, who recommends a “diabetic meal plan” that adjusts daily caloric intake while ensuring daily meals include essential nutrients and vitamins.
One can also meet diabetes trainers and nutritionists who are specially trained to treat diabetes. Above all, timely action and vigilance will help control this silent killer. Regular blood sugar testing, a healthy lifestyle, and exercise can help reduce serious complications.
Mantra: Live a healthy lifestyle and recognize it early.