Type-2 Diabetes

What is it:

Diabetes is a condition that impairs carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism in the body. There are two types of diabetes - type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. In type 1, the formation of insulin is reduced in the body or the insulin ceases to form. Type 2 diabetes is due to "insulin resistance".

What is Insulin Resistance? When we eat food, the food is broken down into glucose and nutrients and is absorbed in the blood. The hormone "insulin" that’s produced by the pancreas then makes sure the glucose is absorbed from the blood into our cells and used as energy. If you have insulin resistance, the cells of your body do not recognize insulin, hence the glucose is not adequately absorbed by the cells. As a result, glucose level in the blood keeps rising and you feel lethargic since the cells do not have the energy they need.

Diagnosis of Type-2 Diabetes involves the HbA1C (hemoglobin A1c) test, in which the quantity of "glycated" hemoglobin is checked in the blood. Glycated hemoglobin develops when glucose combines with hemoglobin in the blood and becomes "glycated". The level of HbA1C of more than 6% is indicative of diabetes. The second test is the fasting glucose blood test. If your fasting glucose blood test level is more than 100, then assume that diabetes is present.

Symptoms:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night (Polyuria)

  • Excessive thirst (Polydipsia)

  • Excessive hunger or increased appetite (Polyphagia)

  • Unexplained weakness and loss of weight

Causes:

  • Poor lifestyle including unbalanced diet (diet high in fats and carbohydrates) and lack of physical activity

  • Obesity or being overweight

  • Genetic factors

Complications:

  • Heart disease: 2 out of 3 diabetic patients die from heart attacks. Over time, blood sugar can harm the blood vessels and nerves of the heart. This also increases the risk of heart attack.

  • Damage to the kidney: Diabetic nephropathy is a common complication of diabetes. There are small blood vessels in our kidneys, which work to clean the blood. Chronically high blood sugar damages these blood vessels and gradually the kidney function is impacted

  • Eye damage: Long-term uncontrolled diabetes can damage the eyes and blood vessels of the eyes leading to a disease called “diabetic retinopathy”. This can also become the cause of blindness if not managed in time

  • Neuropathy or Nerve Damage: If the diabetes is not kept in control, it gradually affects the nerves in every part of the body. The symptoms of this nerve damage usually surface as numbness or tingling in limbs (hands and feet)

How to manage:

  • Monitoring of blood glucose: Check your HbA1C levels at least once every 6 months. If you are taking tablets for diabetes, self monitoring of daily fasting blood glucose and every 3 days PP sugar (postprandial sugar, 2 hours after after breakfast) is recommended by the American Diabetes Association. If you are on insulin, you will need to check your blood glucose levels before meals at home regularly to adjust your insulin dosage

  • Diet for Diabetic Patients: It is important you eat low-glycemic foods and spread your meals throughout the day. Ensure high-fiber intake, which means eating loads of fruits, vegetables and whole grains

  • Exercise for Diabetic Patients: Go for a minimum exercise of 30 minutes daily. Get out for a walk in the morning, cycle, or walk in the garden. If you cannot exercise continuously, then divide it into several parts throughout the day. This also controls your blood sugar level and cholesterol.

  • Stay away from stress: Stress is not good for diabetic patients. Any kind of stress can increase the blood pressure of diabetic patients. So manage your stress and indulge in activities that make you happy