Thursday, 23 July 2015

What is diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes means a group of diseases that affect your body’s ability to use blood glucose appropriately. Glucose is vital to your health because it's the main source of energy for  your muscles, tissues and most importantly your brain.

So, in simple words we can say that having diabetes means having higher than normal glucose level in your blood. This can lead to serious consequences as its a chronic and progressive disease. 

As per American Diabetes Association (ADA) it can be divided into many types- Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and secondary diabetes. No matter what is the type, if not controlled all of them can affect other organs of your body like eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, brain etc. 

What is pre-diabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugars are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. It includes impaired fasting glucose (that is only fasting blood sugar is on higher side), impaired glucose tolerance (that is post glucose blood sugar is higher than normal) or increased glycosylated haemoglobin ( a test that gives you the blood sugar status for past 3 months).

Due to increased awareness among patients, more and more people are now being diagnosed as having pre diabetes.

Why should I know about it?

Importance of knowing about pre diabetes is that these individuals have a very high likelihood of developing diabetes and its complications later in life. If timely measures are taken, you can delay the onset of diabetes and even can reverse it. 

If untreated, diabetes can affect many organs of your body. 
It can affect your eyes causing permanent vision loss which can even go on to blindness. 
It can affect your kidneys and ultimately you may require dialysis or kidney transplant
It can affect your nerves causing neuropathy ( symptoms like burning sensation in your feet, pain or even injuries that may go unnoticed).
Diabetic foot ulcers and infection can result and this may even require amputation.
You are more prone to develop hypertension, stroke (paralysis attacks) or heart attacks (  These heart attacks may not produce typical symptoms of pain, so may go unnoticed and may even cause sudden death).
Increased chances of infections (especially skin, urinary tract infections).

How can I recognise that I have diabetes?

Diabetes symptoms depend on your blood sugar levels. You may not even notice any symptoms in the initial stages or in a pre diabetic state.

Generally, in type 1 diabetes, symptoms develop very quickly and they are severe.

Symptoms commonly reported by a diabetic person are-

Increased thirst
Increased frequency of urination
Increased hunger
Unexplained weight loss
Blurring of vision
Slow healing wounds
Frequent infections like urinary infections, vaginal infections or skin infections

What to do if I have symptoms or am diagnosed with diabetes?

If you notice any of the above symptoms or you have already been diagnosed as having diabetes and not taking any treatment or not checking it regularly, you should consult your doctor immediately. 
It is necessary that you start taking treatment immediately and keep checking at regular intervals as suggested by your doctor. It can easily be controlled with some lifestyle measures and if required medicines. But if uncontrolled can cause above mentioned complications.