When it comes to Diabetes, people don’t really understand the meaning of the disease. They tend to assume that the disease can only affect those people who are obese or have a lot of intake of sugar and its by-products. The reason of concern is that the negligence we show when it comes to our own health until we are stuck with a disease.
Diabetes is a chronic illness that primarily affects the body’s ability to produce or utilize the benefits of insulin. Insulin is responsible for maintaining the correct glucose level in our blood. India was at the top when it comes to a number of patients of diabetes and is now just second to its neighbor China. The report released by WHO in 2012, diabetes was the sole factor responsible for 1.5 million deaths, which made it the 8th leading killer disease. It has been seen that in a majority of cases diabetes can indirectly give rise to certain fatal conditions inside the human body, making it difficult for us to get a number on all the deaths caused by Diabetes, the official figure, however, add another 2.2 million deaths where diabetes was a hidden cause.
The number of diabetes patients is predicted to increase to 79 million-110 million in India itself by the year 2030-2035. Despite being one of the most discussed diseases, it still has its grip on millions. There is still ignorance among people when they talk about diabetes and tends to go for secondary treatments which may very well worsens the cases.
The metabolism of the body mainly functions to digest the food taken by the host body process it to convert that into energy that does help around the body in daily tasks. The metabolic process aided by various organs of our body, one of them is pancreas tasked with the production and optimization of a hormone called Insulin, which breaks down and absorb glucose in from our bloodstream into energy.
The symptom starts with the sudden urge for urination. It is this observable urge to frequent urination which strives the 2nd century BC a Greek physician named Aretus the Cappadocian named the disease as “diabainien” which literally translates to “the siphoning disease”. “Diabetes” became the popular English adoption of this Greek name. Around the same time, the Indian and Chinese physician also observed some people suffering from the disease which was causing them to discharge sweet urine. Later the disease was named Madhumeha (sweet urine) in India.
Various Forms of Diabetes: Causes and Symptoms
The most common name to it is Diabetes Mellitus and the less known one is Diabetes Insipidus. The most common age group which is targeted by diabetes ranges between 43-65 years. Modern science has divined diabetes into 3 primary types:
- Type I Diabetes
- Type II Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
Our immune system is a busy organ and works throughout to fight alien agents in the human body. Sometimes the immune system of the body becomes over-reactive and considers the normal functioning of the body as a threat and attacks them. The diseases caused due to this are known as autoimmune disease. Type-I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the pancreas and disrupts its functioning to an extent where it is unable to produce insulin which leads to higher blood sugar levels.
Generally, the symptoms of Type-I diabetes are seen at an early age, mostly by the adolescent. In some cases, they can be delayed to younger adulthood or may even at an older age. This is termed as the latent autoimmune disease.
There may be many reasons where the body’s immune system might work against or body, the environment can be one and other reasons are as follows:
- Genetic Susceptibility to the disease
- Family History: In a close blood relative
- Diet during infancy
Symptoms of Type-I diabetes are classified as following: Both Type-I and Type-II can have similar symptoms and can develop at a certain age. The symptoms of Type-I includes:
- Regular Fatigue
- Low Blood Sugar Readings
- Frequent for Urination
- Extreme Hunger
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Weight Loss
- Extreme Thirst and Hunger
- Blurry vision due to the change of shape of the lens
- Sores at the soles of feet
Type-II diabetes generally takes time to develop, in this the body slowly loses the ability to use the insulin produced by our pancreas or can say body shows resistance towards insulin. In later stages of the diseases, it is seen that the body completely shuts down the production of insulin.
The average age of a diabetic person in India is 42.6 years, while the symptoms and effects are same for Type-I and Type-II diabetes but they are caused by totally different reasons:
- Obesity in Adults
- Lack of Exercise or unhealthy lifestyle
- Gender Specific: Females are more prone to type II diabetes
- Race and Geography Insulin Resistance
- Age and Family History of Type-II Diabetes
- Prediabetes: Prediabetes is a condition where someone has blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not as alarming which can be regarded as diabetes. Prediabetes can later cause Type-II diabetes at a later age.
Symptoms of Type-II diabetes can be classified as follows: We cannot be certain about which age group might develop Type-I and Type-II. Type-I has been diagnosed in people in later part of their life and Type-II is seen in children as young as 12 years or less. The symptoms include:
- Unintentional Weight loss
- Sores and Cuts doesn’t heal quickly
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst and hunger
- Tingling of nerve ends
- Rapid Heartbeat
Gestational diabetes is a periodic disease, which is most common in women in labor with no history of high blood pressure and sugar levels. They are at risk of developing Type-II diabetes at a later age also. Gestational diabetes goes away after the childbirth. If detected and treated on time it poses no threat to the baby.
At the time of pregnancy, the placenta produces various hormones to support the growth of the baby however in some cases these hormones may interfere with the normal bodily substances such as insulin. This leads to rising in high sugar levels in mother and signals the pancreas into overdrive which stills remains ineffective.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes: Women with gestational diabetes do not show any obvious signs, in fact, gestational diabetes is found at the routine check-ups. Therefore it is recommended to have check-up between the 24th week to 28th week of a pregnancy has become a standard practice in some countries. Due to non-differentiating symptoms, some women may end up feeling:
- Dry mouth and throat
- Frequent hunger pangs and excessive eating
- Frequent visits to the urinal
Misconceptions about Diabetes
Myth: Food items which are rich in sugar causes diabetes.
Explanation: This statement has no factual grounds and not taken seriously. Diabetes is caused by several factors, we have discussed above and this is certainly not one of them. Yes, sugary foods are to be avoided by diabetic patients that is only because sugar-rich foods break down easily to produce glucose, which can quickly raise the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients.
Myth: Type II diabetes patients can eat any measure of sugar-free sustenance.
Explanation: Type II diabetes patients are given the advice to follow a very strict diet. They need to avoid sugar, have to regularly check the weight or a lifestyle which can trigger further complications like high blood pressure, kidney failure or cardiovascular diseases. Thus the patients are advised to keep the calories in check on a daily basis.
Myth: Consuming organic food and products will regulate type II diabetes.
Explanation: There are some organic and natural food products which eventually are rich in carbohydrates, natural sugar, which results in the spike of patient’s blood sugar levels in a short span of time.
That sums it up, for a starter now you must have an idea about the disease and what causes it. So, please make sure to adopt a healthy lifestyle where you keep your diet in check and exercise on regular basis. These small step not only strengthen the body but also make positive impacts on other functions of the body. The primary aim is to live long and healthy if faced with such a disease make sure you fight back as hard as you can to prolong the life of the loved ones.