Diabetes is a chronic disease that distorts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. It can be genetic or be brought about by lifestyle issues. In recent times, the disease has become more prevalent and is continuing to spread rapidly across the world.
The graph throws some light on the scale of the problem, and these are just the reported cases.
Diabetes and its Types
Contrary to popular belief, diabetes does not have everything to do with sugar intake. However, it is not too difficult to understand it. Basically, whenever our body processes the food we eat, it gets converted to sugar and our blood glucose levels rise. Then, the Pancreas starts its job and produces Insulin to help the cells of our body absorb the sugar for energy, which in turn regulates the inflated glucose/sugar levels.
There are primarily two types of diabetes:
This is the type of diabetes in which the Pancreas either produces insufficient insulin or does not produce any at all. This type of diabetes can be attributed to genetic factors or exposure to certain viruses. It might even be caused due to autoimmune problems.
In this type of diabetes, the cells are unable to utilize insulin in the proper way. This leads to a build-up of sugar/glucose to keep this in check, the pancreas keeps making more and more insulin. This keeps on happening until the pancreas is overwhelmed and is eventually unable to produce more insulin. This condition is known as insulin resistance. It usually occurs because of lifestyle problems, such as physical inactivity and obesity.
Symptoms and People at Higher Risk
It is imperative that diabetes is diagnosed as soon as possible. High sugar levels are detrimental to a person’s health, and can even damage vital organs like the kidneys, eyes, and even the heart. Some of the symptoms that you need to keep an eye out for are:
1. Excessive thirst
2. Frequent urination
3. Blurred Vision
5. Sudden Weight loss/gain
It is also important to understand that there are certain groups that might be more at risk. For eg, people who are 45 or older, overweight or obese people, people with a sedentary lifestyle, and people with a family history of diabetes. While diabetes is not exclusive to these sets of people, if you happen to be in one of them, it wouldn’t hurt to be a little more cautious.
Can Diabetes be Cured or Managed?
Well, yes and no. The fact is that there is no medication out there yet that can be prescribed for curing both types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes, unfortunately, can only be managed or controlled by self-administering insulin. Research is in full swing to find an actual cure and soon there might even be a breakthrough.
Type 2 diabetes, however, is generally a product of poor lifestyle choices and can be reversed and managed by taking the right steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
Exercise and diet are very important. Diabetes 2 patients are advised to avoid carbohydrates as they are easily broken down into sugar. Sweets, therefore, are a big no-no, and so are processed foods which are often salty and can cause more dehydration.
Instead of these, foods rich in fiber and protein should be incorporated into the diet as these take longer to digest and hence do not spike blood sugar immediately. Also, these foods help manage weight, which is an added benefit.
Try using whole grains like barley and oats. Green vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and also others like capsicum and carrots. Cinnamon is also considered highly effective in managing sugar levels.
Fruits like apple, apricots, and berries are highly recommended, but fruits like banana and mango should be avoided.
While these remedies might help, any and everything should be consulted with your doctor before you undertake it, because everyone doesn’t respond the same way to a particular method.
Constant monitoring of blood sugar level, particularly the fasting levels is important as it helps patients in understanding if their sugar is in check and they can make adjustments in their diet and insulin levels accordingly.
Easy access to processed food, increasingly sedentary lifestyle and lack of attention towards health have made people all over the world vulnerable to diabetes. So, to mitigate the risk, it is important that we take our health seriously and do what we can to save ourselves from it.