White Sun on Health – Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where there is an absence or inadequate secretion of insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by our organ called the pancreas. The function of the insulin is to absorb the glucose from our diet and turn it into energy. In a diabetic patient, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the available insulin is blocked or inactivated by other substances thus preventing it from performing this function. This causes excessive glucose in the blood and after a period of time it can lead to serious complications.

The most common symptoms are: 1] excessive urination 2] tiredness 3] constant thirst 4] frequent hunger and strong appetite 5] weight loss despite the heavy appetite 6] frequent fungal infections especially in the genital areas and 7] blurred vision.

There are two types of diabetes:

1] Type 1: It is insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). No insulin is made in the body and can occur at any age but especially in the young. Treatment is in the form of dietary controls and injections.

2] Type 2: It is non-insulin dependent mellitus (NIDDM). This accounts for 90% of all cases. In type 2, the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. It usually occurs in people over the age of 40 and very often other members of their family also have it.

Additional demands on the pancreas can also cause some pregnant women to develop diabetes. This is gestational diabetes (GDM). About 20% – 50% of GDM patients will develop diabetes in later life.

Diabetes patients should be aware that low blood sugar could occur with the use of tablets or insulin. This condition could be due to: 1] eating too little or too late 2] too much insulin and 3] not enough food before exercise.

Adjustments need to be made if there are variations in the diet or amount of exercise done by the diabetic patient as this can lead to too little glucose in the bloodstream and excess of insulin, thus giving rise to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).

Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include: 1] lack of concentration 2] sweating 3] irritability 4] blurred vision and 5] shaking and weakness.

The treatment is to promptly take sugar by mouth (in the form of glucose tablets, sugar lumps or glucose drink). Recovery is usually very fast. Occasionally, unconsciousness can occur and hospital treatment is necessary.

Both insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent diabetes are susceptible to complications. Many complications may be serious and can affect almost every part of the body. Long term damage to the feet, eyes and blood vessels are perhaps the most devastating complications to the diabetic patient. Although early detection helps, it can be difficult because many of these complications do not show any obvious symptoms until the problems are well advance and the damage has been done.

The complications are:

1] Retinopathy – Disease of the back eye. May cause impaired vision and lead to blindness.

2] Neuropathy – Nerve damage that can lead to pain or lack of sensation in the hands and feet. May cause problems with digestion or the heart (irregular heart beat).

3] Nephropathy – May lead to kidney failure and cause early death.

4] Large blood vessel damage – Leads to heart attacks, stroke and/or lower limb amputation.

These complications may occur singly or combination. The extent of damage is very much dependent on the duration of the diabetes and its degrees of control. This makes controlling of the blood sugar very important.

Regular exercise helps the insulin to work better and keeps the diabetic healthier. For patients above 45 years old, exercise should be at least half an hour daily walk or very light jogging on the spot if space is limited. Heavy exercise is not advisable so as to avoid injury.

Diet plays a very important part in the management of diabetes. Diabetes is a disorder of glucose utilization; it is incorrect to assume that they need to avoid sweet foods and drinks to manage the conditions. There is more to managing diabetes than that. It is important to remember that healthy eating is the key to a diabetic’s diet and he can eat the same type of diet that everyone should be eating. Starchy foods which are high in fiber should form the basis of a diabetic’s diet. Such foods are wholemeal bread, noodles, oats, unsweetened crackers, potatoes, lentils, fruits, vegetables and dried beans.

Foods that are high in sugar and fats should be kept to the minimum. Alcohol consumption should be kept to minimum as too much alcohol can upset the blood sugar level. Diabetic should have three meals daily and do not miss any meals, it would be better to have more of smaller meals at shorter intervals.

Author: T.A Chew

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Senior Health – Diabetes and Its Warning Signs

Diabetes is a very serious disease that affects nearly 21 million people in the United States, and another 54 million people are at risk. It’s a very sad disease to be diagnosed with, and because it has become so common, chances are if you don’t have it, you know at least one person who does.

So what exactly is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where the body does not properly control the amount of sugar in the blood stream resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. This is a result of the body not producing enough insulin on its own, or when the body is not using the insulin properly. If Diabetes is left untreated, it can cause serious organ damage. Diabetes, even when cared for, can result in heart and blood vessel disease, blindness, kidney failure and foot ulcers.

Now, there are two types of Diabetes, and they are both completely different diseases:

Type 1 – Type 1 Diabetes, in layman’s terms, is when the pancreas can no longer make the insulin required to carry sugar from the blood into other cells of the body. Scientists believe this is caused by a virus that causes the immune system to attack the insulin-producing cells and permanently destroy them. Those diagnosed with Type 1 will have to take insulin injections every day to survive. They will have to test themselves often and determine the proper amount of insulin required and inject themselves daily. This will mimic the action of a healthy functioning pancreas.

Type 2 – Type 2 is the most common form of Diabetes, as much as 95% of people diagnosed have type 2. This form of Diabetes is a result of things like obesity, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, family history and increased age (21% of individuals over the age of 60 are diabetic). Some of the causes of Type 2 Diabetes can be changed with better habits and lifestyle changes, and as a result, the Diabetes may in fact clear up on its own. Those diagnosed with Type 2 should consult a doctor about positive lifestyle changes- daily exercise combined with medication, insulin, and monitoring can help you correct your Diabetes. If you have any of the risk factors for Type 2 that are in your control, you can reduce your risk on your own by losing excess weight, eating better, and staying active. You’ll feel your best and reduce your risk at the same time!

So what are the symptoms and warning signs?

With the exception of a few, many of the warning signs of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are the same. However the symptoms of Type 1 tend to hit much faster, and sadly can affect anyone- children, young adults, people in their 40’s and seniors alike can all be diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes.

Warning signs of type 1:

o Increased Thirst
o Increased hunger
o Dry mouth
o Frequent urination
o Blurry vision
o Fatigue
o Headaches
o Unexpected weight loss

Type 2 diabetics aren’t usually diagnosed until complications have already occurred. They usually experience the symptoms listed above but they occur gradually and are not immediately noticeable. As many as half of all people with Type 2 Diabetes don’t even know they have it.

Type 2 Diabetes symptoms include all of the listed above and the following:

o Slow healing sores or cuts
o Itching of the skin
o Decreased vision
o Impotency
o Frequent yeast infections
o Numbness or tingling in the hands, legs or feet

If you are experiencing any of the above listed symptoms you should contact your regular doctor for testing immediately. Even people with pre-diabetes can suffer from increased risk of heart disease.

Assisted Living New York

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