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Celebrating World Diabetes Day 2013

Introduction

November 14 has been reinstated as World Diabetes Day and so let this be an opportune moment to delve into trivia about this silent killer that people spend their lifetime combating and failing prey to.

Diabetes or diabetes mellitus literally meaning siphoning off sweet water is a group of metabolic disorders that affects the capability of our body cells from using up the glucose extracted from the food we eat, having been broken down into glucose, a form of sugar, for energy and growth.

Having too much glucose in blood is called blood sugar which damages the body steadily over time. The International Diabetes Federation and the member associations heads the World Diabetes Day campaign to espouse awareness and treatment for this dreaded disease that can cause heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, blindness, dental disease, amputations and other serious health problems even in this age of medical advancement. This day is utilized for various activities and events to educate treat and prevent this terrible disease from spreading its dismaying tentacles any further.

Why does the diabetic disorder happen?

As the body fails to use the amount of glucose properly as the pancreas fails to produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose from entering the body’s cells, glucose enters the blood stream. Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that is responsible for unlocking our body cells to let in glucose to be used as fuel to proffer us with energy to run our lives.

The World Diabetes Day aims at transmitting the fact that patients with high blood sugar levels will typically experience polyuria or frequent urination, polydipsia or becoming increasingly thirsty and are struck with uncontrollable hunger pangs or polyphagia.

Weight loss, blurred vision, wounds that will not heal, skin infections and unexplained extreme fatigue are also the other symptoms.

Types of diabetes

Type I diabetes is caused when there is no insulin to unlock the body cells to receive glucose from the food.

Type II diabetes is caused when inadequate insulin is produced by the body causing improper function or when the produced insulin cannot open the body cells, having become insulin resistant, to receive their fuel or glucose to run the various metabolic processes of the human body.

Gestational diabetes affects females during pregnancy raising the risk of complications during childbirth as the baby becomes bigger than they should be. It has been observed that these women are very prone to getting back the disease later on in life.

 

Treatment for the ailments

Type I diabetes is an autoimmune condition accounts for 5-10% of cases with no known cure. Patients need to take daily insulin injections to remain fit which is a daily task. This disease is particularly difficult to control and its treatment entails a routinely strict regimen including a carefully calculated diet, planned physical activity and watch on insulin levels.

Type II diabetes accounting for 90-95% of cases requires lifelong obligation to healthy eating, regular exercise, proper medication and blood sugar monitoring. This disease gradually gets worse and overweight, obese and older people run a greater risk of developing it. Insulin therapy then becomes necessary for the patients which mean that insulin injections are usually required as normal digestion interferes with oral (by mouth) insulin intake. Four in every 10 people suffer from diabetes in India.

Diabetes Related terms

  • Hyperglycemia means high blood sugar or elevated level of glucose in the blood.
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis means increased ketones passing out along the urine. ketoacidosis is a combination of ketosis and acidosis.
  • Ketones mean toxic acids produced by the body during breakdown of fats.
  • Prediabetes means patients with type 2 diabetes initially having blood sugar levels higher than normal, but not high enough to merit a diabetes diagnosis causing body cells to become resistant to insulin.
  • Gastroparesis means the muscles of the stomach stop functioning properly
  • Diabetic neuropathy means nerve damage due to persistently high blood sugar levels which can lead to several different problems.
  • HHNS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome) means shooting high blood sugar levels with no ketones present in the blood or urine. It is an emergency condition.


Some diabetes myths busted

People with diabetes should exercise regularly as this aids in keeping the disease in check. Exercise helps manage body weight, improves cardiovascular health, improves mood and relieves stress. All fat people do not develop type II diabetes eventually.

Diabetes is not a nuisance but an ailment which is not to be taken lightly as two thirds of diabetes patients die prematurely from stroke or heart disease as their life expectancy is curbed by five to ten years.

One person can NEVER transmit diabetes to another person. A parent may pass it on through their genes to their offspring, a higher susceptibility to developing the disease.

Conclusion

It is the awareness program on World Diabetes Day that saves lives of those who are suffering from this disease and associated others. It is always better to be safe than sorry and so a regular check up on the intake of sugary food and blood sugar level after 40+ is the advise for all.

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