Why is it important to be aware about Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person experiences high blood glucose levels either because the body produces inadequate insulin or the body cells do not respond properly to the insulin produced by the body. According to World Health Organization (WHO), globally an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population.

Impact of Diabetes on your Life

Diabetes is a lifelong disease. Elevated blood sugars damage the blood vessels and nerves.  This damage over time can lead to accelerated aging, heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, pain, numbness, weakness, cancers, infections, ulcers and amputation of the feet. The human body is capable of neutralizing the toxins to a great extent, but over time the toxic loads can produce disease. Genetic predisposition, excessive stress, lack of physical exercise, and unhealthy habits and exposures increase the chance of developing disease.
We know diabetes is-

  • A leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis
  • The leading cause of blindness in working age adults.
  • Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to four times
  • A major cause of limb amputations
  • Affects mental health as well as physical health. Depression, anxiety and distress occur in more than 30% of all people with diabetes

Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile-onset diabetes. It is usually caused by an auto-immune reaction where the body’s defence system attacks the cells that produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin. The disease may affect people of any age, but usually develops in children or young adults. People with this form of diabetes need injections of insulin every day in order to control the levels of glucose in their blood.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, and accounts for at least 90% of all cases of diabetes. It is characterised by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency, either or both of which may be present at the time diabetes is diagnosed. The diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can occur at any age. Type 2 diabetes may remain undetected for many years and the diagnosis is often made when a complication appears or a routine blood or urine glucose test is done. It is often, but not always, associated with overweight or obesity, which itself can cause insulin resistance and lead to high blood glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes can often initially manage their condition through exercise and diet. However, over time most people will require oral drugs and or insulin.

Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a form of diabetes consisting of high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It develops in one in 25 pregnancies worldwide and is associated with complications to both mother and baby. Approximately half of women with a history of GDM go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five to ten years after delivery.

In conclusion, Diabetes mellitus is a slow killer . However, its complications can be reduced through proper awareness and timely treatment. It is important to keep the blood glucose levels of patients under strict control for avoiding the complications.