What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes or elevated blood sugar level is a metabolic disorder in which the metabolism of carbohydrates is disturbed. The carbohydrate consumed from the food is not metabolized and therefore it leads to abnormal levels of glucose in the blood. Our food consists of carbohydrates which when consumed are converted into glucose by our body. This glucose is needed by the body cells for energy. Our pancreas has cells that get activated when glucose enters in blood. These cells secrete a hormone called insulin that helps the cells to take up the glucose and maintain normal glucose levels in the blood. In diabetes either this insulin is not secreted or is secreted in a very small amount. Also, there could be an insulin sensitivity in which insulin is secreted but the cells do not respond to this insulin.
What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the blood sugar level is persistently elevated over the years. Some tests are done to diagnose diabetes but there are certain signs and symptoms present that reflects diabetes, these include,
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Weight loss (type 1 diabetes)
- Weight gain (type 2 diabetes)
- Increased hunger
Types Of Diabetes
Prediabetes: a condition of slightly elevated blood sugar but not diagnosed as diabetes
Diabetes type 1: Insulin-dependent diabetes in which the body fails to produce the insulin
Diabetes type 2: Insulin independent diabetes in which there is little or insufficient secretion of insulin.
Gestational diabetes: Elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It is often temporary and goes away with pregnancy.
Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
|Type 1 Diabetes||Type 2 Diabetes|
|Insulin-dependent (no insulin produced)||Insulin Independent (Little or insufficient insulin produced)|
|Occurs below 20 years of age||Occurs after 40 years of age|
|Characterized by weight loss||Characterized by weight gain|
|Ketone bodies formed||No ketone bodies|
|Requires external insulin||No need for external insulin|
|Less common||More common|
What Is The Cause Of Diabetes?
There could be several reasons for diabetes. Type 1 diabetes which is less common is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system destroys its own cells called beta cells that are responsible for insulin production. Therefore no insulin is produced. On the other hand type 2 diabetes in which insulin is produced but cells resist it, is because of either excessive carbohydrate intake over a period of years, obesity, physical inactivity, or family history of diabetes.
How To Diagnose Diabetes?
|Test||Cut off value||How the test is performed|
|HBA1C||>6.5%||Measures the blood sugar levels over a period of 2-3 months|
|Fasting plasma blood glucose||>126 mg/dl||No food or drink for at least 8 hours before the test|
|Oral glucose tolerance test||>200 mg/dl||Fasting for 8 hours and then drinking sugary drink to check how the body reacts to it|
|Random plasma glucose test||>200 mg/dl||At any time of the day, no need to fast|
How To Manage Diabetes?
Here’s what you need to do in order to control your diabetes.
Avoid eating simple sugars (in processed foods)
Consume complex carbs such as whole grains
Be physically active and watch your weight (exercise for at least 30 min daily)
Keep a record of your blood sugar levels
Avoid sweets and sweetened beverages
Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes
Avoid rice and consume brown rice only if needed
Consume small frequent meals and avoid eating too much at once.
Avoid the combination of rice and potatoes
Avoid saturated fats such as ghee
Control the portion size of fruits and avoid bananas, mangoes, watermelon.