Diabetes

Diabetes FAQ
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What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus is disease that is brought about by either insufficient production of insulin (insulin secretory failure) or the inability of the body to respond to the insulin formed within the system (insulin resistance). Insulin helps the body to properly use the food that we eat for energy. Most of the food that you eat is broken down into glucose and other simple sugars. When glucose enters the blood stream, our body releases insulin from the pancreas which facilitates the glucose into your cells to use as energy. In diabetes, you lack insulin, or your insulin is unable to function properly, hence glucose cannot be used by cells for energy and will remain in your blood stream causing your blood glucose levels to be increased.

Is there a cure for diabetes mellitus?

If treated properly, your blood glucose can go down to normal levels but diabetes will always be part of your life. Millions of individuals live healthy and active lives with diabetes, and you can too! Make an effort to be involved in your treatment and learn all that you can about diabetes.

What are the treatments for Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious condition that can be managed well with lifestyle modification, nutritional counseling, regular exercise and medication . Those who do best are the individuals who take an active role in their own treatment. It is important to know how to manage your blood glucose levels. Treatment includes special diabetic diet, exercise, regular blood glucose testing, medication and sometimes insulin injections and rarely weight loss/ bariatric surgery. What is pre diabetes?
Pre diabetes is when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. People with Pre diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and may experience some of the symptoms of diabetes already.

How many people with Pre diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes?

Studies showed about 11% of people with Pre diabetes developed type 2 diabetes each year during an average three years of follow-up. Simply put about 60-70 % of Pre diabetics will develop full-blown diabetes in future.What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a form of diabetes that results from total destruction of insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas. The subsequent complete lack of insulin leads to increased blood sugar levels (alarmingly high most of the time). This condition used to be called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) in the past since people with Type 1 Diabetes absolutely require insulin for their survival.

What are symptoms and signs of Diabetes?

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can occur rapidly while type 2 diabetes may not have symptoms for a long period. Common symptoms include need to urinate frequently, frequent hunger or thirst, blurred vision, tired feeling, wounds that heal slowly and rapid weight loss..

What is diabetes insipidus?

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a rare disease that causes frequent urination. The large volume of urine is diluted, mostly water. To make up this lost water, a person with DI may feel the need to drink lots of water and is likely to urinate frequently. During nights this can disrupt sleep and, on occasion, cause bed wetting. Diabetes insipidus is completely different from diabetes mellitus though the name and symptoms may be similar and it has nothing to do with insulin or its deficiency.

What is a diabetes-friendly diet and what are the eating habits that should be practiced?

Fortunately, we now know more about how diabetes works and today’s diabetic diets are creative, healthy and allow for great variety. Diet will depend up on each individual’s disease condition and health. A dietitian who is specially trained in the field of Diabetes nutrition should counsel every patient about the importance of diet and advise a personalized menu that the patient can follow easily at home. The timing of your meals is as important as what you eat. The more that you eat at one meal, the more insulin you will need to utilize the energy from the breakdown of those foods. If you eat smaller portions throughout your day, you will not need as much insulin to bring down your blood sugar. Make it a point to eat 3 main meals (and 3 snacks in between) during your day and eat each meal and snack at about the same time every day. Do not skip meals. Carry some food with you if you think that you will be delayed.

What role do oral medications play in managing diabetes?

These diabetic pills work best when used with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Some pills inhibit the release of glucose from your liver, some slow the absorption of glucose in your gut and enhance the absorption of glucose in other parts of your body. Others stimulate your pancreas to produce additional insulin and help your cells respond better to the glucose load from your diet. Your doctor will prescribe the ones that are best suited to your needs.

What are the different types of insulin?

There are several types of insulin. They are classified as rapid acting, intermediate acting and long acting. Rapid acting and short acting insulin begin to act very quickly after you inject them and last for a short time. They are usually taken to prevent an abnormal rise in glucose levels following meals. Intermediate and long acting insulin have a gradual and longer lasting effect on blood glucose levels. There used to be two popular kinds of insulin purified pork insulin (porcine) and human insulin. Pork insulin is not available for use any more because Human Insulin is easily available. Human insulin is not actually from humans, but is developed in a laboratory (using recombinant DNA technology) and is considered the most pure. Nowadays Analogue insulin, both fast acting (Aspart, Lispro and Glulisine) and long acting (for 24 hours) (Glargine and Detemir) and Ultra long acting insulin (Degludec) are being used. These are more advanced form of insulins (sometimes called Designer Insulin) and its efficacy seems to be better that the human insulin but it is more expensive as well.

What is the proper way to handle insulin?

Insulin should be stored in a refrigerator (cooler compartment and never in the freezer), but once opened can be stored at room temperature for easy access and comfort. Room temperature insulin usually feels more comfortable when injected and remains stable for 30 days after opening. Inspect the expiry date on your insulin. Do not use it beyond this date. Examine your insulin before using. Do not use it if the color appears abnormal or the insulin does not mix well.

What is Hypoglycemia?

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the patient has severely low levels of blood glucose. This can be a very dangerous situation, as the person can partially or completely lose consciousness. Quick medical attention should be given to any person displaying symptoms of hypoglycemia. Diabetics who are on insulin (especially the ones who are on insulin more than once) are the ones more likely to suffer from hypoglycemic attacks. The condition may also be caused by a lack of food, excessive drinking of alcohol, an onset of diarrhea or vomiting and strenuous exercise. Generally, when an individual goes in for hypoglycemia, the person develops blurry vision, hunger pangs, starts to sweat profusely, palpitation (feeling the heart pounding). He or she may experience confusion, nervousness and dizziness, difficulty in speaking and concentrating and in severe cases unconsciousness and convulsions.

Can diabetes be prevented?

Diabetes can be prevented if you chose a healthy life style, good exercise and proper diet from the early stages onwards. Exercise is extremely important in controlling the diabetes. You need at least half an hour exercise per day which helps you to sweat. About 80% of the diabetes patients are obese. Studies show that increased weight is directly contributing to the diabetes and weight loss can help prevent diabetes. Avoid eating trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable oil), food with sugar and refined carbohydrates. Eating lots of fiber contained in raw fruits and vegetables can help in preventing diabetes.