WHAT IS DIABETES

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not make, or does not properly use, insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps your body use the energy from sugar, starches and other foods. The result is that your body doesn't get the energy it needs, and unmetabolized sugar (glucose), builds up in your blood causing damage to the body and its systems.

Glucose is a form of sugar produced when the body digests carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Glucose is the body's major fuel for the energy it needs. When insulin is absent or ineffective, the blood glucose (blood sugar) level increases. High blood glucose levels can lead to both short and long-term problems.

There are different kinds of diabetes, each with slightly varying symptoms and treatments. The principal forms are Type 1 and Type 2. There are related conditions that are considered to be “prediabetic” and may be reversible – impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose. Pregnant women may develop gestational diabetes. Women who already have diabetes may also have certain condition-related concerns during pregnancy with diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms associated with diabetes, immediately consult your healthcare professional.
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Poorly healing cuts or bruises
  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Loss of feeling in hands or feet

At present, no cure is available for diabetes. But with regular self-monitoring of blood glucose and a proper combination of diet, exercise and medication, people with diabetes lead active, healthy lives.

 

Prevention of diabetes
Research studies have found that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes among high-risk adults. Changing diet and adding moderate exercise (such as walking) reduced the development of diabetes in study participants by over 40% during the study.

In the Diabetes Prevention Program, a large prevention study of people at high risk for diabetes, people treated with medication reduced their risk of developing diabetes by over 30%. Treatment was most effective among younger, heavier people (those 25-40 years of age who were 50 to 80 pounds overweight) and less effective among older people and people who were not as overweight.

There is no known way to prevent Type 1 diabetes.