Diabetes – The things you dont know

If diabetes gets to an uncontrolled level, it can cause many problems such as infection of wounds that refuses to heal, infection in urine and lungs, fungal infections etc.

Diabetes is considered next to cancer as a serious disease according to World Health organization. It is an ailment which has affected millions of people all over the world. In India, the number of diabetics is fast growing. In Kerala itself, there are approximately 50lac diabetic patients .Studies reveals that several people are on the brink of this malady. The fact that more studies and research are being conducted on diabetes than any other disease shows the importance attached to this disease by the medical world.
Studies have shown that an average person in our state has fatty liver arising from deposit of fat in liver. The chance of  Type-2 diabetic person having fatty liver is 5 times more. A fatty liver can cause insulin resistance which ultimately leads to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease which affects all organs of the body in various ways. Let us look into the main aspects of this.

1. Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes causes formation of new blood capillaries in the retina. This may cause bleeding in the retina in the later stage. Gradually, the person starts to lose vision. Therefore, a diabetic person should undergo eye check up at least once a year to ensure the state of retina. Proper regulation and control of diabetes can help to avoid aggravation of retinopathy. If in early stages, Diabetic Retinopathy can be treated using laser. Diabetes also increases the chances of cataract formation. A diabetic person can get cataract quite early in his life. Surgery is the best option. Variation in blood sugar may cause temporary defects in vision. Only after controlling diabetes, he can wear the correct glasses.

2. Diabetic Neuropathy

When diabetes affects nervous system, the condition is called diabetic neuropathy .This is manifested in the body in several ways. It can affect nerves going to the limbs .Loss of sensation, numbness etc of the body may be considered as peripheral neuropathy. When the nerves going to the internal organs are affected, the condition is termed autonomous neuropathy. This type of neuropathy causes a symptom called gastro paresis .The walls of stomach and intestine get affected causing difficulty in movement of food from stomach, indigestion, heart burn etc. Constipation is another symptom. To remedy this, a person should take food containing plenty of fibre. Instead of taking heavy meals thrice a day, food should be eaten in small quantities at regular intervals. Several kinds of medicines are available for the treatment of gastro paresis.

3. Pre-disposition to heart disease

Possibility of getting heart disease is more in diabetic patients. Damage caused to the blood vessels is the main cause for this. High Blood pressure leading to heart attack, cholesterol, obesity etc are common in diabetic patients. Regular exercises and diet control are essential for controlling diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. Use of alcohol and smoking tobacco can be dangerous in this condition.

4. Renal Complications

Renal complication due to diabetes can be detected very early from the albumin content in urine. A normal person excretes below 30gm albumin through urine. If the albumin content is below 30, the condition is called microalbuminuria. It is an indicator of kidney disease and heart disease .Controlling the blood sugar and blood pressure are the main treatments in this case.

5. Excessive sweating

Some diabetic patients experience excessive sweating after consuming food. The condition is called gustatory sweating and the causative factor is autonomic neuropathy. Medicines are available to treat this condition.

6. Diabetes in children

Usually, Type-1 diabetes is seen in children. It is caused by non secretion of insulin from the pancreas. Giving insulin is the only remedy and constant regulation of glucose in blood is very important. The treatment of Type-1 diabetes is similar to that given to adults. Exercise and diet control to check obesity are very important. In some children a condition known as “Double Diabetes” may develop may develop. Very rarely, symptoms of both Type-1 and Type-2 may be seen in them. Both kinds need to be treated by giving insulin and medicine for type-2 diabetes along with regulation of body weight.

Control of diabetes

Regular exercise and diet control are extremely important for managing diabetes.

Importance of Exercise

Exercise helps to lower blood sugar as well as blood pressure. It can reduce the LDL levels and increases the level of good cholesterol. By reducing the fat in the body, the body is better able to utilise insulin. Exercise helps to reduce possibility of heart attack and strokes and maintain the health of heart and strength of bones. Body weight gets lowered and the body becomes more flexible. Walking is the best form of exercise recommended for controlling diabetes. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Swimming, cycling etc can also be done under a doctor’s advice.

Diet control

Diabetes can be managed to a certain extent by regulating our diet. A diet which contains complex carbohydrates and healthy fat is ideal for diabetics. This serves to maintain the correct body weight.

  • Carbohydrates: Unpolished cereals, wheat flour, ragi etc can help to regulate blood sugar levels. Green vegetables and fruits may be included in the diet for regulating sugar and preventing heart disease.
  • Protein: Pulses, fish, soya, sprouted beans, egg white etc in the diet can help to control diabetes.
  • Healthy Vegetable oils: Diabetic patients should avoid Butter, Dalda, Ghee etc and use vegetable oils like mustard oil, soya oil, sunflower oil , olive oil etc instead.
  • Fish: Fish can be included in the diet once or twice a week. The omega fatty acid in fish helps to protect the heart.

If diabetes mellitus gets to an uncontrolled level, it can cause many problems such as infection of wounds that refuses to heal, infection in urine and lungs, fungal infections etc. The symptoms of diabetes manifest as excessive thirst frequent urination, hunger, loss of body weight, fatigue etc. Lack of insulin leads to a serious condition known as Ketosis accompanied by dehydration, salt imbalance.

So it is extremely important for a diabetic patient to follow strict diet and do regular exercise along with medication to fight this major disease.

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