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About Diabetes

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» What is diabetes?

» The Pancreas

» Different types of diabetes

» Symptoms

» How is diabetes diagnosed?

» Diet for people with diabetes

» Foods to say YES in Diabetes

» Foods to say NO in Diabetes

» About Sugar

» About Artificial Sweeteners

» Treatment is Effective and Important

» Complications linked to badly controlled diabetes

» Points to Remember

 

 What is diabetes? 

Diabetes comes from Greek, and it means a "siphon". It's usually a lifelong (chronic) disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin (a hormone that is produced by the pancreas) production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).

The Pancreas

The pancreas is an organ (6 inches long) in the upper abdomen, behind the stomach and close to the spine, that produces substances (digestive enzymes) needed to break down and use food. The pancreas also produces insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar (glucose) in the blood.

To aids digestion, pancreas secrets enzymes into small intestine to help break down protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Similarly, to regulates metabolism it secretes hormones, insulin and glucagons into bloodstream to maintain proper glucose (sugar) levels.

  Different types of diabetes

There are three major types of diabetes:

#1  Type 1 diabetes: This type of diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. In diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. A person who has type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. They must also ensure proper blood-glucose levels by carrying out regular blood tests and following a special diet. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases worldwide are type 1.

At present, scientists do not know exactly what causes the body's immune system to attack the beta cells, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors, possibly viruses, are involved. People usually develop type 1 diabetes before their 40th year, often in early adulthood or teenage years.

#2  Type 2 diabetes: The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type. This form of diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, physical inactivity, and ethnicity. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, obese and physically inactive. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents.

When type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but for unknown reasons, the body cannot use the insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. After several years, insulin production decreases. The result is the same as for type 1 diabetes -- glucose builds up in the blood and the body cannot make efficient use of its main source of fuel.

Some people may be able to control their type 2 diabetes symptoms by losing weight, following a healthy diet, doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring their blood glucose levels. However, type 2 diabetes is typically a progressive disease - it gradually gets worse - and the patient will probably end up have to take insulin, usually in tablet form.

#3  Gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels that is first recognized during pregnancy. The condition occurs in approximately 4% of all pregnancies.

Almost all women have some degree of impaired glucose intolerance as a result of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. That means that their blood sugar may be higher than normal, but not high enough to have diabetes. During the later part of pregnancy (the third trimester), these hormonal changes place pregnant woman at risk for gestational diabetes.

 Symptoms 

Symptoms of type 1 Diabetes

The symptoms include increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme fatigue. If not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person with type 1 diabetes can lapse into a life-threatening diabetic coma, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis.

Symptoms of type 2 Diabetes

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually. Their onset is not as sudden as in type 1 diabetes. Symptoms may include fatigue or nausea, frequent urination, unusual thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections, headache, slow healing of wounds or sores and Sexual Dysfunction. Some people have no symptoms.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

Because gestational diabetes does not cause symptoms, you need to be tested for the condition. This is usually done between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. You may be surprised if your test shows a high blood sugar level. It is important for you to be tested for gestational diabetes, because high blood sugar can cause problems for both you and your baby. Increased thirst, Increased urination, Increased hunger, Blurred vision are common symptoms of gestational diabetes. Pregnancy causes most women to urinate more often and to feel more hungry, so having these symptoms doesn't always mean that a woman has diabetes.

  • Nausea

  • Itchy skin

  • Headache

  • Blurred vision

  • Increased Thirst

  • Frequent Urination

  • Frequent infections

  • Swollen or bleeding gums

  • Sexual Dysfunction (in men)

  • Too much exhaustion (fatigue)

  • Slow healing of wounds or sores

  • Some people have no symptoms.

  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss

  • Being hungry right away even after eating a heavy meal

  How is diabetes diagnosed?

The fasting blood glucose (sugar) test is the preferred way to diagnose diabetes. It is easy to perform and convenient. After the person has fasted overnight (at least eight hours), a single sample of blood is drawn and sent to the laboratory for analysis. This can also be done accurately in a doctor's office using a glucose meter. Doctors can determine whether a patient has a normal metabolism, prediabetes or diabetes in one of three different ways - there are three possible tests:

The A1C test

- at least 6.5% means diabetes

- between 5.7% and 5.99% means prediabetes

- less than 5.7% means normal

Note: The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose over the past 3 months. The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research.

The FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test

- at least 126 mg/dl means diabetes

- between 100 mg/dl and 125.99 mg/dl means prediabetes

- less than 100 mg/dl means normal

The OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test) [Random Blood Glucose Test]

- at least 200 mg/dl means diabetes

- between 140 and 199.9 mg/dl means prediabetes

- less than 140 mg/dl means normal

  Diet for people with diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you should adjust your diet as follows:

  • Switch from using saturated fat to using unsaturated fat.

  • Prepare food mainly by boiling or baking – with minimal use of fat.

  • Enjoy low-fat foods and avoid the use of animal fat (saturated fat).

  • Always enjoy skimmed milk and milk products with lower fat percentage.

  • Several times a day eat vegetables (either fresh, cooked, stewed) and fruit.

  • Choose low-fat meat and low-fat meat products. Before preparing meat try to remove all visible fat.

  • You can also drink one to two cups of coffee (no sugar and cream added) a day. You can sweeten your coffee with artificial sweeteners and can add a little skimmed milk.

  • Overuse of salt in your diet may lead to high blood pressure. The more salt you consume the higher the blood pressure. Never put additional salt on your food and avoid products that contain a lot of salt.

 Foods to say YES in Diabetes

  • Avocado (high in monounsaturated fats)

  • Fresh Fish (prepared by baking, grilling, or roasting)

  • Baked Sweet Potatoes (lowers blood sugar by 30 percent)

  • Flaxseed (rich in protein, fiber, and good fats plus magnesium)

  • Cinnamon (have insulin-like effects and help reduce blood sugar levels)

  • Strawberries (low in calories and carbohydrates, high in fiber and water)

  • Egg White (One large egg is a perfect food for blood sugar control)

  • Low Fat Yogurt (contains both high-quality carbohydrates and protein)

  • Peanut Butter (contains monounsaturated fats which help control blood sugar)

  • Beans (including black, white, navy, lima, pinto, garbanzo, soy, and kidney)

  • Non-starchy vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and peppers)

  • Almonds (provide a healthy, low-carb mix of monounsaturated fats plus magnesium)

  • Brewed Coffee (1-2 cups daily without milk and sugar had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes)

  • Wild salmon or sardines (rich in omega 3s and a healthy-fat-and-protein combination)

  • Fruits (apples, pears, peaches, and berries. Even tropical fruits like bananas, mangoes, and papayas)

  • Oatmeal (add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts as protein and healthy fat)

  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame — all filled with good fats, protein, and fiber that work together to keep blood sugar low)

  • Whole Grains and High-fiber foods (contain all three layers of the seed — the fiber-rich bran, the starchy endosperm, and the nutrient-dense germ)

Carbohydrates are one of the three major macro-nutrients which supply the body with energy. Fat and protein are the others. It is recommended that about 55% of our daily calories should come from carbohydrates, 15 % from protein and 30 % from fat. Carbohydrates take the form of sugars, oligosaccharides, starches and fibers. The major sources of carbohydrates are cereals, pulses, potatoes. But also fruit and vegetables contain carbohydrates and even milk.

 Foods to say NO in Diabetes

Think Twice Before Eating These Foods

  • Raisins

  • White Rice

  • Fruit Juices

  • White Flour

  • French Fries

  • White Bread

  • Fried Chicken

  • Candy and cookies

  • Pancakes and Syrup

  • Frozen or Restaurant Pizza

  • Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

  • Snacks, Cakes and Pastries

  • Regular jam, jelly, and preserves

  • Butter-flavored stove-top Popcorn

  • Regular Mayonnaise, Salad Dressings

  • Whole Milk, Regular Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream, Ice Cream

  • Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks, Coffee drinks, Chocolate drinks, Soft drinks, Milk Shakes

  About Sugar

Sugar can be found not only in obvious foods such as cookies, cakes, sodas, soft drinks and other sweets. It can be found even in pasta sauce, salad dressing and canned vegetables. So when reading food labels, look for sugar listed as the first ingredient and be aware of hidden sugar names: fructose, lactose, sucrose, maltose, glucose, dextrose.

Eating lots of sugary foods are more likely to cause you to gain weight. Research shows that being overweight or obese increases your risk of cancer. This is because obesity may cause changes in hormone levels or insulin that might increase the risk of developing breast, colon or uterine cancer. Therefore limiting the amount of sugar in your diet is important. Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to overweight and obesity, which indirectly increases cancer risk over time.


  About Artificial Sweeteners

These include aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, acesulfame-K and more. These are chemical food additives that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste with less food energy. They are anywhere from 30 to 8,000 times sweeter than sugar and as a result, they have much fewer calories than foods made with table sugar. Many sugar substitutes have zero calories per gram. They are found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving.

They have been associated with a negative impact on metabolism, and some have been linked to obesity, IBS, brain damage, cancer, headaches, dizziness and hallucinations.

Treatment is Effective and Important

All types of diabetes are treatable. Diabetes type 1 lasts a lifetime, there is no known cure. Type 2 usually lasts a lifetime, however, some people have managed to get rid of their symptoms without medication, through a combination of exercise, diet and body weight control.

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery can reverse type 2 diabetes in a high proportion of patients. However, within three to five years the disease recurs in approximately 21% of them.

  • Patients with type 1 are treated with regular insulin injections, as well as a special diet and exercise.

  • Patients with Type 2 diabetes are usually treated with tablets, exercise and a special diet, but sometimes insulin injections are also required.

Note: If diabetes is not adequately controlled the patient has a significantly higher risk of developing complications.

  Complications linked to badly controlled diabetes

  • Erectile dysfunction - male impotence.

  • Healing of wounds - cuts and lesions take much longer to heal

  • Gastroparesis - the muscles of the stomach stop working properly

  • Nephropathy - uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to kidney disease

  • Eye complications - glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and some others.

  • Hearing loss - diabetes patients have a higher risk of developing hearing problems

  • Infections - people with badly controlled diabetes are much more susceptible to infections

  • Gum disease - there is a much higher prevalence of gum disease among diabetes patients

  • Skin complications - people with diabetes are more susceptible to skin infections and skin disorders

  • Neuropathy - diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage which can lead to several different problems.

  • Heart problems - such as ischemic heart disease, when the blood supply to the heart muscle is diminished

  • Ketoacidosis - a combination of ketosis and acidosis; accumulation of ketone bodies and acidity in the blood.

  • Foot complications - neuropathy, ulcers, and sometimes gangrene which may require that the foot be amputated

  • Peripheral Arterial Disease - symptoms may include pain in the leg, tingling and sometimes problems walking properly

  • Hypertension - common in people with diabetes, which can raise the risk of kidney disease, eye problems, heart attack and stroke

  • Mental health - uncontrolled diabetes raises the risk of suffering from depression, anxiety and some other mental disorders

  • Stroke - if blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels are not controlled, the risk of stroke increases significantly

  • Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome - blood glucose levels shoot up too high, and there are no ketones present in the blood or urine. It is an emergency condition.

  Points to Remember

  • Diabetes is a complex group of diseases with a variety of causes. Scientists believe genes and environmental factors interact to cause diabetes in most cases.

  • People with diabetes have high blood glucose, also called high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or is not able to use insulin effectively, or both.

  • Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin helps cells throughout the body absorb and use glucose for energy. If the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin effectively, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by cells in the body, and the body is starved of energy.

  • Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels or A1C levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. People with prediabetes can substantially reduce their risk of developing diabetes by losing weight and increasing physical activity.

  • The two main types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a third form of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy.

  • Type 1 diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin due to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. In type 1 diabetes—an autoimmune disease—the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells.

  • Type 2 diabetes—the most common form of diabetes—is caused by a combination of factors, including insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s muscle, fat, and liver cells do not use insulin effectively. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to compensate for the impaired ability to use insulin.

  • Scientists believe gestational diabetes is caused by the hormonal changes and metabolic demands of pregnancy together with genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include being overweight and having a family history of diabetes.

  • Monogenic forms of diabetes are relatively uncommon and are caused by mutations in single genes that limit insulin production, quality, or action in the body.

  • Other types of diabetes are caused by diseases and injuries that damage the pancreas; certain chemical toxins and medications; infections; and other conditions.

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Get Well Soon Wishes

 

 

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