Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
Did you know already?
- Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in India.
- Around 77 million Indians are diabetics.
- Every sixth diabetic worldwide is of Indian origin.
- Indians between the ages of 18 and 35 are most susceptible to diabetes.
- The number of diabetics in India increased by 73% between 2016 and 2018.
- The risk of long-term diabetes can be reduced by taking preventive measures.
- Smoking is one of the most dangerous risk factors for diabetes.
What is diabetes
Do you often feel thirsty and urinate a lot, especially at night? If so, you should get diagnosed right away as these are the early symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition in which insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels) stops working, causing blood sugar levels to rise (hyperglycemia). This condition usually occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin it has already made. Diabetes can seriously affect many body systems, but its effects are more severe on the nervous system and blood vessels.
There are four different types of diabetes:
- Prediabetes: When this happens, the sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to cause type 2 diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes: It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the pancreas and stops making insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes: This condition occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, which leads to increased blood sugar levels
- Gestational diabetes: This condition usually occurs during pregnancy due to insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta – a temporary organ that connects a growing fetus to the uterus.
A diabetic patient may have symptoms that include:
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Unintentional weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Slow healing of wounds and bruises
Diabetes can seriously affect your general well-being. But at the end of this tunnel there is light. Even if you have diabetes, you can manage the disease so that you can lead a normal life. However, in order to do so, the first thing you should know is what other diseases diabetes can potentially cause, who is at increased risk of diabetes, foods that can help control diabetes, and what should be avoided to effectively treat diabetes.
How diabetes increases the risk Cardiovascular diseases?
Diabetes increases the risk of high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases such as: Heart attack and stroke. People who remain physically inactive (lead a sedentary lifestyle), smoke, or have a family history of cardiovascular complications are at greater risk.
A regular diagnosis is one of the most important steps to reduce the risk. Some of the preventive diagnostic tests that you should do include:
- Blood pressure control – every six months or as recommended by a doctor
- HbA1c check – once a year or as recommended by the doctor
- Cholesterol checks – once a year or as recommended by the doctor
How diabetes increases the risk Eye complications?
Diabetics are more prone to eye complications such as:
- Cataracts: This condition leads to distorted or cloudy vision and sensitivity to glare or bright light. Cataracts can develop in people between the ages of 40 and 50, but diabetes can lead to this condition from a young age.
- Retinopathy: In Retinopathy damages the blood vessels in the retina, which leads to impaired vision. It is important to get a diabetes eye exam early to detect the disease at an early stage. This will allow you to take preventive measures or early treatment to keep the condition from getting worse.
Other eye complications such as macular edema or glaucoma can also occur due to diabetes. Therefore, preventive diagnosis and treatment of these eye conditions is essential to avoid eye problems.
How diabetes increases the risk Kidney complications?
Diabetes can bring about changes in the small blood vessels in the kidneys, which can increase your risk for Kidney disease. To prevent this from happening, a diabetic should undergo regular screening to check for the presence of microalbumin (small amounts of protein) in the urine. The presence of microalbumin in the urine indicates that the person is developing kidney disease. Screening should be done at least once a year or as directed by a doctor as it will help in taking preventive measures to treat the condition.
How diabetes affects Mental health?
Diabetes is a serious condition that dealing with it and living with it can trigger emphasize, Anxiety and depression, which can affect blood sugar levels and the way you deal with the condition. If you feel stressed or anxious, you need to seek therapy or see a psychiatrist and talk about your feelings. The doctor’s guidance gives confidence so that you can deal with the condition efficiently.
How diabetes increases the risk Thyroid disease?
Diabetes increases the risk of both hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). A diabetic’s high blood sugar level can potentially affect the functioning of the thyroid gland and lead to thyroid disease.
Regular diagnosis and monitoring by your doctor can reduce your risk of thyroid disease and help manage diabetes.
Who is at Risk of Developing Diabetes?
The risk of developing diabetes increases if a person:
- From 45 years
- Directly related to a diabetic person (parent or sibling)
- Physically inactive
- Suffer from high cholesterol or high blood pressure
Recommended foods for better treatment of diabetes
Diet plays a vital role in a person’s overall wellbeing, especially those with diabetes. Eating a balanced diet can have a huge impact on your fight against diabetes and help you cope better with it. Some foods that are ideal for diabetes management include:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Chia seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Vinegar and apple cider vinegar
Food and lifestyle that diabetics should avoid
To avoid having diabetes or to keep the condition from getting worse, a person should:
- Stop smoking
- Reduce your alcohol consumption
- Stop consuming refined grains
- Avoid carbonated drinks
- Avoid fried foods and sweets
- Avoid processed meat
- Eat fewer breakfast cereals with added preservatives, especially sugar
Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to other diseases and, if left untreated, can become life-threatening. It is recommended that when symptoms occur, a diagnosis is made and expert supervision is obtained to avoid chronic health complications. Implementing a healthy lifestyle and dietary changes such as physical activity and a nutritious and balanced diet can help treat the condition effectively.
Decoding Diabetes: The Definitive Guide For A Healthier You first appeared in the HEALTHIANS BLOG.
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