Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood are too high. Normally blood glucose levels are regulated by the hormone insulin, which is made by the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when there is a problem with this hormone and how it works in the body.
In diabetes, either the pancreas can’t make insulin (type 1 diabetes), or the cells don’t respond to the insulin properly (insulin resistance) and the pancreas produces inadequate insulin for the body’s increased needs (type 2 diabetes).
Symptoms of Diabetes
Some types of diabetes have no symptoms, and can go un diagnosed for a long time, but some common symptoms can include:
- Being more thirsty than usual
- Passing more urine
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Slow-healing wounds
- Itching and skin infections, particularly around the genitals
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
- Numbness & tingling sensation in fingers & toes
- Increase in appetite
Complications of Diabetes
High blood glucose levels can result in serious complications. These include:
- Kidney damage (nephropathy)
- Eye damage (retinopathy)
- Nerve damage to the feet and other parts of the body (neuropathy)
- Heart disease (for example, angina or heart attacks),
- Strokes and circulation problems
- Sexual difficulties, including erectile dysfunction
- Foot ulcers or infection
Treatment for Diabetes
As such there is no cure for diabetes. Treatment aims to prevent complications by controlling blood glucose levels, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and by achieving a healthy body weight.
Management depends on the type of diabetes, but can include:
- Taking insulin daily by injections or by insulin pump.
- Regulating diet so intake is matched to insulin and exercise.
- Increasing the amount of ‘slow’ carbohydrates in the diet, such as beans and fruits.
- Self-monitoring of blood sugar levels by regularly testing droplets of blood in a glucose meter.
- Self-testing of urine with a test strip – not routinely, but when problems are suspected.
- Physical activity and exercise.
- Weight management.
- Stopping smoking & drinking.
- Having regular checks for possible diabetes complications.
- Adopt an active lifestyle.
- Regular blood sugar monitoring.
- Adopt a healthy eating habit.
- Regular check up with doctor.
- Regular Foot check, Eye check up.