So you have been feeling very thirsty, hungry, tired and need to use the loo more often during the night? Worried you may have diabetes? Well, you are not alone.
Close to 69.1 million people in India are suffering from diabetes today and there may be many more getting positively diagnosed with diabetes as you read this. WHO has estimated that this number is going to go up to 80 million by 2030. Delhi is leading the diabetes pack, followed by Mumbai and Ahmedabad as reported in 2016.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes, also referred to as diabetes mellitus, is basically a metabolic disorder that is caused due to high sugar levels in the body. Food is normally broken down into glucose or sugar to be used as energy by our body. But sugar level in body increases when our body cells are unable to absorb glucose due to insufficient production of insulin or due to insulin that has become ineffective in its function. This causes sugar to build up in the blood.
Type 2 Diabetes
When your body is producing enough insulin but the cells are not able to utilize it.
This is the most common type of diabetes and is generally seen in adults above 35 years of age.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms are as follows –
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Excessive hunger
- Blurred vision
- Sores or cuts that don’t heal easily
Type 1 Diabetes
This is less common and is caused due to insufficient production of insulin in the body and generally affects people younger than 30-35 years. Type 1 diabetes symptoms are as follows –
- Weight loss
- Feeling very tired
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Excessive urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- All types of diabetes are treatable. Although diabetes is not curable, many people with type 2 diabetes manage to eliminate the symptoms with medication, diet and exercise.
- The single best predictor of type 2 diabetes is obesity. 90% diabetic patients are overweight or obese.
People with diabetes are more likely to experience heart diseases and stroke.
- Diabetes and its related complications is one of the top causes of deaths in India.
Prediabetes and Prevention
Prediabetes is ‘borderline diabetes’ and is a sign that you could develop type 2 diabetes if you don’t make some lifestyle changes. A fasting blood sugar level of 100-125mg/dL indicates a prediabetes stage. Prediabetes stage does not include distinctive symptoms but type 2 diabetes symptoms like excessive hunger, thirst, urination and tiredness start sinking in.
At this stage, you are at a high risk of becoming diabetic, but here’s the good news: you can prevent yourself from becoming diabetic by making these important lifestyle changes (no medication required).
- Get more physical activity: Regular exercise will help you lose weight and lower your blood sugar level.
- Stop smoking and reduce your alcohol intake
- Increase your fibre intake: It’s rough, it’s tough and it can help you feel full to promote weight loss. Consume a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans.
- Follow a healthy diet to lose that extra weight and not fad diets
Diabetes – Warning Signs
Type 2 Diabetes can lead to serious complications. It is important to be aware of any warning signs so that you can reduce the harm caused by getting access to timely help. Most emergencies arise because people are unaware of diabetes symptoms and are probably still undiagnosed.
Diabetics can face life – threatening emergencies because of too less or too much insulin in their body.
Too much insulin will cause low sugar levels (hypoglycaemia) leading to insulin shock while too less insulin can cause high sugar levels (hyperglycaemia) leading to diabetic.
It is an EMERGENCY if you are having an insulin shock. Warning signs include –
- Rapid pulse
- Fast breathing
- Drowsiness, weakness
- Numbness in hands or feet
- Sweaty and pale skin
Lifesaving hacks: Eat sugar cubes, fruit juice, sugar candy to handle mild glycaemia.
Diabetic coma is an EMERGENCY. Warning signs include –
- Deep, sighing breaths
- Unsteady gait
- Flushed, warm skin
Lifesaving hacks: Drink plenty of water as it helps flush out excess sugar out of your body
When to call an ambulance?
Severely high blood sugar level can become life threatening if not treated quickly.
If the person has become unconscious or is experiencing convulsions, immediately call an ambulance for emergency help.
If severity of any of the above-mentioned signs increases, seek immediate medical help.
Save MUrgency’s helpline number 9111891118 for emergency and ambulance help in order to be better prepared for emergencies.