What is Diabetes? A Life Long Lesson You Should Learn

What you’ll get from the post is the answer to all the below questions:

  • What is the meaning of diabetes?
  • What causes diabetes?
  • Why is weight loss considered important in diabetes?
  • How can I lose weight?
  • Is diabetes hereditary?
  • Whom can diabetes affect?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
  • What are the types of diabetes?
  • What is the role of insulin in type 2 diabetes?
  • How is Diabetes Treated?
  • Why is eating fruit recommended despite the fact that it has a lot of carbs?
  • Which fruits are highly recommended for diabetes?
  • What should the blood sugar of a diabetic patient be?

In the following paragraphs, we shall deep dive and try to understand the answers to each of the questions above.

Table of Contents

What is the Meaning of Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in the human body whereby a person has higher than the normal glucose level in his or her blood. It is essentially caused due to poor metabolism of the sugar or glucose in the food that we intake. Different people experience different reasons for high glucose level and hence there are different types of diabetes.

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What are the Causes of Diabetes?

In order to understand what causes diabetes, we need to first understand the role of the hormone insulin in our body. The gland pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin. The food that we eat is ultimately turned into sugar or glucose and this glucose is used up by the body cells to produce energy. The absorption of glucose by the cells is enabled by insulin.

Diabetes can occur when:

  • The pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
  • The insulin so produced by the pancreas is not utilized by the body efficiently.

Types of Diabetes

There are three main types as explained below:

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas of the body which is responsible for producing insulin are unable to do so. The reason behind the same is that the immune system of the body becomes so weak that the beta cells which are responsible for the same are destroyed.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes as it most affects children. In fact, the common age of occurrence of this type is below the age of 20.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which:

  • Either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin as needed by the body or
  • The insulin produced is not utilized by the body efficiently

Type 2 Diabetes

When either of the above conditions occurs, glucose or sugar build up in the blood giving rise to blood sugar.

Gestational Diabetes

This is another type of diabetes in which the insulin of the pregnant mother is unable to function properly. Gestational diabetes might occur in 4% of every pregnancy. If you are a woman who is pregnant after the age of 25, have more than the average body weight, you should definitely go for a gestational diabetes test.

Gestational Diabetes

Do you Need to Take Insulin in Type 2 Diabetes?

Keeping the blood sugar levels in the recommended blood sugar range is the essential part of regulating and managing diabetes. In order to do so, insulin injections become an essential part in the long term. Although low blood sugar can be achieved through regular exercising and following a healthy diet, insulin injections to achieve the target does become necessary after a certain point.

Insulin in Type 2 Diabetes

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes?

The symptoms of diabetes are very subtle and often go unnoticed. Following are a few signs:

Signs of Juvenile Diabetes or Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes symptoms include the following:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Feeling tired at all times

The above symptoms are common for all the diabetes types

Signs of Type 2 Diabetes:

Apart from the above common symptoms, a few other type 2 diabetes symptoms include:

  • Itching caused in the skin
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Numbness caused in the hands and feet

In the case of gestational diabetes, there are often no symptoms at all. However, a few signs of gestational diabetes may include increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, and blurred vision in the expecting mother.

Why is Weight Loss Considered Important in Diabetes?

According to American Diabetes Association, diabetes and obesity are interlinked to one another and losing weight can help you better manage and get rid of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.Obesity, as we know, leads to high levels of blood glucose in our body. The reasons are:

  • When you are obese, the body metabolism is weak. Losing some weight helps to improve metabolism, thereby preventing high blood sugar
  • When you are overweight, your self-confidence is adversely affected. Stress give rise to the level of cortisol, which, in turn, leads to increasing blood glucose levels.

Weight Loss Considered Important in Diabetes

For people who are overweight, losing some weight not only improves their fitness levels but also leads to a reduction of HbA1c levels while also reducing the risk of several cardiovascular diseases.

How can I lose weight to Either Prevent Diabetes or Better Manage it if I am Diabetic Already?

In order to lose weight, you should do the following:

  • First of all, you need to consult with your doctor, how much overweight you are.
  • Make regular physical activity of exercise a part of your daily routine.
  • You can also lose weight by controlling what you eat. Consult your doctor or a dietician and make a proper diet plan as to what you should eat so that both your weight as well as diabetes are under control.

Is Diabetes Hereditary?

Although there has been no evidence supporting that diabetes is completely hereditary, there are higher chances of you getting the disease if your family member suffers from the condition. For example,

  • If you are a man suffering from type 1 diabetes, the chances that your offspring will develop the same is 1 in every 17.
  • If you are a woman suffering from type 1 diabetes, the chances that your child will develop the same is 1 in every 25 if he or she was born before you were 25 years of age, and if the child is born after you were 25 years of age, the diabetes chance is a rare 1 in 100 children.

As per the American Diabetes Association, the hereditary factor in the case of type 2 diabetes is:

  • If both your parents have it, there are 50% chances that you shall have it too.
  • If one of your parents was diagnosed with it after the age of 50, the chances of you inheriting the same are 1 in 13.
  • If one of your parents was diagnosed with it before the age of 50, the chances of you inheriting the same are 1 in 7.

Whom Can Diabetes Affect?

It is possible for anyone can get diabetes. However, people with the following situations are more prone to contract the disease than others:

  • People who have close relatives with the disease.
  • People who constantly suffer from the problem of high cholesterol.
  • Those who are prone to a sedentary way of life.
  • Those who are obese or overweight.
  • Pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes at the time of pregnancy can develop full-grown diabetes.
  • Finally, older people are more likely to get diabetes. Chances of diabetes increases after the age of 40

How is Diabetes Treated?

The main treatment of diabetes is adopting a healthy lifestyle, an effective meal plan, and regular physical exercise. The main thing is to keep a check on the blood sugar levels and prevent the same from rising. Apart from this, there are drugs and medications that are available which can help keep the blood sugar level in the normal range.

  • Insulin injections are to be taken by all the type 1 diabetic patients, while type 2 diabetic patients should take insulin after a certain time.
  • Type 2 diabetes can be managed by adopting a healthy meal plan and by exercising regularly.
  • Diabetes can mainly be controlled by following a particular diet.
  • You should regularly get the blood glucose checked by an expert.

Following are a few examples of controlling diabetes with diet:

  • Increase the intake of fiber as they help to make you feel full to a large extent, lowers the glycemic load of the food, and also helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Proteins should definitely form a part of the regular diet of a person suffering from diabetes because when you consume more of proteins, you are prone to lesser sugar cravings.
  • Experts recommend that for diabetes you should concentrate on all those vegetables that are very rich in minerals, fibers, minerals but have very few carbohydrates.
  • A few fruits despite the fact that they might have carbohydrates in them.
  • Include different types of tea, nuts, cinnamon, oatmeal, etc. to manage diabetes.

Is it Safe to Eat Fruits for a Diabetic?

Although fruits contain carbohydrates, it is safe to eat certain fruits. As per the doctors, good carbohydrates are essential for diabetes and as such, they should be consumed. Besides, the other minerals, vitamins, fiber, etc. contained in fruits are much beneficial to maintain recommended levels of blood glucose.

List of Fruits Which are Recommended for Diabetic Diet

Following fruits are more recommended as compared to the others:

Relation Between Diabetes and Blood Glucose

As seen above, a person suffers from diabetes when the body has elevated levels of blood glucose level. Hence one of the main ways of controlling diabetes is to keep the blood glucose level within the normal range.

The following is the blood sugar chart which will help explain the relationship better:

Blood Sugar Chart for a Normal Person:

  • For a person who does not have diabetes, the fasting blood sugar is under 100mg/dl.
  • Just before a meal, the blood sugar should be 70-99mg/dl while the level two hours after the meal should be 140mg/dl.

Blood Sugar Chart for a Diabetic:

  • For a diabetic patient, the fasting blood sugar is under 126mg/dl or even higher.
  • As per the American Diabetes Association, the normal blood sugar for a diabetic should be around 80-130mg/dl before the meals and around 200mg/dl a couple of hours after meals.

We hope that the above post gives answers to the various questions you might have with respect to diabetes. In dealing with diabetes, it is important to remember that although there is no full prove answer to the question “how to prevent diabetes?, the same can be controlled by adopting a healthy lifestyle and by exercising regularly. Do make it a point to consult with an expert when you think of adopting a particular lifestyle while you are trying to manage the condition effectively.

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