On World Diabetes Day, a few things that everyone needs to know about this disease.
According to the Lancet study, China, India and USA are among the top three countries with a high number of diabetic population. With 62 million Indians living with diabetes, this sugar disease is posing an enormous health problem to our country today.
Before jumping to its treatment, let’s first understand the disease, its symptoms and types.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is described as a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose, either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. This type of diabetes is know as diabetes mellitus.
Understanding diabetes starts with knowing the different types of diabetes and their key differences. There are three types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 – In type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to produce insulin. People suffering from type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day. Type 1 diabetes generally develops in childhood or adolescence.
Type 2 – In type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function, or the cells in the body do not react to insulin. This kind of diabetes usually happens in people who are older, although even younger adults may be diagnosed with it. Type 2 diabetes also usually occurs in people who are overweight. In fact, about 8 out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Gestational Diabetes – A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, is a temporary condition that occurs in women during pregnancy. Pregnant women make hormones that can lead to insulin resistance. All women have insulin resistance late in their pregnancy. Overweight or obese women have a higher chance of gestational diabetes. Also, gaining too much weight during pregnancy may increase your likelihood of developing gestational diabetes.
Diabetes symptoms can vary from person to person. While the development of type 1 diabetes is usually sudden and dramatic, the symptoms in type 2 diabetes can often be mild or absent. Some people don’t find out they have it until they get problems from long-term damage caused by the disease. Some of the signs commonly experienced include:
Excessive thirst – When blood sugar levels rise, the body tries to pull fluid from other tissues to dilute the sugar in your bloodstream. This process can cause your body to dehydrate, prompting you to drink more water.
Frequent urination – Drinking excessive amounts of water causes frequent urination. The body also tries to eliminate excess sugar through urination.
Excessive hunger – Diabetes may keep the sugar from your food from reaching your cells which leads to constant hunger.
Fatigue – Sugar is one of your body’s main sources of energy. If you have diabetes, your body’s inability to convert sugar into energy can lead to fatigue.
Unplanned Weight Loss – When you lose sugar through frequent urination, you also lose calories. If your body isn’t getting enough energy from the foods that you eat, it will break down other energy sources available within the body. This includes your fat and protein stores. When this happens, it can cause weight loss.
Treatment and Management
The bitter truth about this disease is that it is not curable, neither type 1 diabetes nor type 2 diabetes. However, patient adherence to medication and lifestyle modifications play an important role in diabetes management.
Don’t Skip medication: Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar levels, but the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose.
Eat well: Diabetes meal planning starts with eating a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fat. A diabetes educator or dietitian can help you with a meal plan, teach you how to count carbs and size up portions.
Avoid alcohol and smoking: While moderate amounts of alcohol may cause blood sugar to rise, excess alcohol can intensify diabetes complications, such as decrease your blood sugar level, nerve damage and eye disease. But if your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink is OK.
Diabetes patients who smoke have higher blood sugar levels, making their disease more difficult to control and putting them at greater danger of developing complications such as blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure and heart problems. That is why it is best to quit smoking when suffering from diabetes.
Control Stress: Stress can raise your blood sugar and may lead you to make poor food choices, too. Learn relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks and set limits. Exercise can often help relieve stress and lower your blood sugar level.
Exercise regularly: When you exercise, your muscles use sugar for energy. Regular physical activity also helps your body use insulin more efficiently. Work out in the gym, join a sports team, or take dance lessons. The main thing is to keep moving!
Glucose monitoring: Monitoring your blood sugar level on a regular basis and analyzing the results is an integral part of diabetes management. You can test your blood sugar at home with a portable glucose meter and understand how diet, medication and exercise affects blood sugar levels.
Check your feet: Checking the feet for cuts and sores is a very important part of diabetes care. People suffering from diabetes should regularly check their feet for sores or cuts as these wounds heal very slowly leading to infections.
Care at Home
Many people with diabetes are unaware that it requires lifestyle changes, especially in the areas of nutrition and physical activity. Making these lifestyle changes is one of the greatest challenges they will encounter in managing diabetes.
With a little planning and preparation, one has to chalk out a diabetes management plan and follow it religiously. And a caregiver can help you with this. Caregivers, Patient attendants and Nurses can help with insulin injections, blood pressure monitoring, post-surgery rehabilitation.
Post-Surgery, patients with diabetes typically take longer to heal, and need continuous care.
MUrgency Medical Care at Home services help patients with comprehensive diabetes management. Our caregivers can help you or your loved one manage diabetes in a systematic way.
Our caregivers can help the patient with:
- Screening and monitoring blood glucose levels
- Manage weight and blood pressure
- Medication and insulin administration
- Well-balanced diet and exercise plan
- Post-Surgery Rehabilitation
Our highly trained and experienced caregivers aim to help you understand and manage your diabetes without disrupting your life. If you would like to book our home care services, click here.