Diabetes: Types, Symptoms, Complications, and Management

Diabetes is a growing challenge in the country, where approximately 8.7% of the diabetic population is between 20 to 70 years of age.

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as Diabetes, refers to a metabolic disease that affects your body to cause high blood sugar (glucose). Your body produces insulin, a hormone used to move sugar from the blood into your cells for storage or further use as energy. If you are diabetic, your body doesn’t efficiently use the insulin it makes, or the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin.

Types of Diabetes:

a. Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease, occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. This is caused when the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Around 10 percent of diabetic people have type 1 diabetes and are insulin-dependent, i.e., they must rely on artificial insulin daily to stay alive. Type 1 diabetes is predominant in children or teenagers, especially if anyone in the family carries genes related to diabetes.

b. Type 2 Diabetes: This form of Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and usually occurs when your body is ineffective towards insulin, resulting in high sugar builds up in the blood. Type 2 Diabetes is usually caused by excess body weight and physical inactivity. The stakes are higher if you are of 45 years of age or older, and have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides.

c. Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes, or Hyperglycaemia, occurs in women during pregnancy. During this period, the placenta in the body produces hormones that make a pregnant woman’s cells become less sensitive to insulin. This type of diabetes can create serious health issues for both the mother and child during and after pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs in

Diabetes Symptoms:

The rising numbers of diabetic people in India are driven by multiple factors, including rapid urbanization, luxurious lifestyles, unhealthy diets, regular tobacco intake, and an increase in life expectancy. A few of the prominent symptoms of diabetes are:

  1. Increase in hunger
  2. Frequently feeling thirsty
  3. Loss of weight
  4. Urinating frequently
  5. Blurry Vision
  6. Extreme fatigue
  7. Slow healing of cuts, wounds, or Sores

In addition to these common symptoms, Diabetes also displays gender-specific symptoms. In the case of men, they may have a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and poor muscle strength; while in women, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin are signs of diabetes.

Note that Gestational diabetes does not display any visible symptoms. It can be only detected in a routine blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

Complications in Diabetes:

The occurrence of high blood sugar in the body damages the tissues and organs all throughout the body. Here are a few health complications associated with people suffering from diabetes.

  1. Cardiac problems such as heart attack and stroke
  2. Neuropathy (Nervous disorders) and Nephropathy (Kidney-related disorders)
  3. Retinopathy, Vision loss
  4. Embryopathy
  5. Loss of hearing
  6. Bacterial and fungal infections on the skin
  7. Depression
  8. Dementia
Simple tips for Diabetes control and management
  1. Healthy diet: The kind of food you eat on a regular basis as well as how much you eat determines your blood sugar levels. For example, carbohydrates often have a very large impact on sugar levels in the blood and hence must be monitored before taking the required insulin dose. Every meal you have must contain a good mix of starches, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages as they are high in calories that increase blood sugar levels, and at the same time, offer very little nutrition.
  2. Exercise: Physical activity or exercise plays a vital role in diabetes management. While exercising, your muscles use up blood sugar for energy and also helps your body use insulin more efficiently. Physical activity can be in any form, such as housework, gardening, working out, or standing for long periods.
  3. Track your menstrual cycle: Hormonal level changes in the week before and during menstruation can also result in fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. Keep a track of your blood sugar levels to identify and predict the fluctuations. Also, women approaching menopause should also monitor their blood sugar levels more frequently.
  4. Avoid Stress: Prolonged stress in the body often leads to the production of hormones that may increase your blood sugar levels. At times you are too stressed, opt for relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks, and start setting bars. Avoid stress in the first place whenever possible: cope with common stressors or talk to a professional.
Self-Monitoring in Diabetes

Self-monitoring of blood sugar levels in the body is of utmost significance for effective diabetes management. Self-monitoring blood glucose devices such as glucometers and test strips are used for generating readings of the blood sugar level.
While using a Glucometer or test strips to monitor your blood sugar level, please keep in mind the following instructions before proceeding.

  1. Ensure that both your hands are clean and dry before using either the meter or the strips
  2. Do not use a test strip more than once. Please keep them in their original container to avoid external moisture from affecting the results.
  3. Store the meter as well as the test strips in a dry, cool area.
  4. Get the glucometer and test strips checked by a healthcare professional prior to use for their effectiveness.

Diabetes is manageable. Although at times, the complications due to it can severely impact your daily lives and can prove to be fatal if not detected and treated immediately.