Diabetes symptoms

High blood sugar level in the body, due to metabolic diseases is called Diabetes mellitus which generally referred to as diabetes. Diabetes is basically a metabolic disorder. Metabolism is a process in the body which digests the food consumed and breaks them into glucose to enable the body to absorb the same as fuel is essential for the growth and maintenance of the physical structure.

The hormone called insulin produced by the pancreas (pancreas is an organ behind the stomach) takes the glucose to the cells and hence adequate production of insulin is essential to convert the food as energy. Absorption of glucose from the blood to most of the other cells particularly to liver, muscles and adipose tissues is carried out by the vital hormone, insulin.

Causes and symptoms of diabetes

Causes of of diabetes are sedentary way of life, obesity, high blood pressure, low level of good cholesterol and family history. Any person suspected of having any of these is considered to be at pre-diabetes stage and need to carry out appropriate medical tests to find out whether diabetes has set in.

Initial symptoms of diabetes are, fatigue, frequent urination, feeling thirsty always, slow healing of wounds and cuts, unusual weight loss, male sexual dysfunction and increased hunger. At the advanced stage, diabetes can cause damage to the eyes, foot ulcers, stroke, heart diseases and chronic kidney failures. Untreated diabetes can lead to coma and become fatal.

The incidence of diabetes is insufficient production of insulin by pancreas or when there is sufficient production of insulin, improper response by the body to insulin.

Types of Diabetes

The commonly known diabetes are:

  • Type-1 diabetes which is insulin dependent where pancreas produce insufficient insulin
  • Type-2 diabetes, a chronic condition where processing of blood sugar by the body is affected and insulin produced is little or is resisted or inadequate
  • Gestational diabetes occurring in pregnant women who have no previous history but develop high blood sugar level once conceived and goes away after delivery.
  • Type-3 diabetes, also known as Alzheimer’s disease where the brain resist insulin
  • Other types of diabetes which occur very rarely include pre-diabetes in which blood sugar is high but not enough to be type 2.

Most cases of diabetes can be prevented or can even be reversed. While type 1 cannot be prevented, type 2 which forms 80 to 90 % of cases can be prevented by changing life style and adopting healthier diet consumption.

Effects of Diabetes

Diabetes of all types increases the risk of long term complications if not properly treated in time and continuously monitored. Primary complications that arise is damage to small blood vessels which in turn affect the eyes, kidneys and nerves.

When the damaged blood cells affect the retina, it is called diabetic retinopathy leading to gradual loss of vision and complete blindness in extreme cases.

When it affects the kidneys, it is called nephropathy, causing scarring of tissues, and loss of protein in urine. It can also cause malfunctioning of the kidneys resulting in dialysis and in advanced stages can force kidney transplant too.

When the damaged blood cells on account of diabetes affect the nerves, it is called neuropathy which is the most common complication encountered by any diabetic person.  The complication causes numbness, tingling pain and damage to the skin.

Some of the specific complications that may occur in specific parts of the body are:

Eyes – Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts

Foot – Ulcers, neuropathy and in acute cases gangrene requiring amputation

Skin – Infections and other disorders

Heart – Supply of blood to the heart muscle decreases resulting in ischemic heart disease.

Hypertension – Kidney malfunction, eye related problems, stroke and heart attack probabilities may increase.

How to treat diabetes?

Each type of diabetes is treated differently ranging from change of dietary habits and diet, exercises and weight management techniques to curative medicine supplements.  Adopting healthy eating habits and losing weight are the twin best remedies. Selection of food items play a major role.

You can check different recipes using all natural ingredients to treat diabetes at home.

Even though diabetes cannot be prevented altogether, smoking, chewing tobacco products and consumption of alcoholic beverages must be avoided by persons who suspect pre-diabetes. Avoiding prolonged stress by adopting relaxation techniques will also help in controlling diabetes.

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.