You may think you don’t have to worry about diabetes. However, its prevalence is increasing around the globe, its symptoms go unnoticed, and many people do not know they have the disease. Although diabetes is a common disease, many people are unaware of the causes, effects, treatment, and management of the disease. Knowledge is power and learning about diabetes increases your awareness of the disorder and motivates you to take control.
Here are four should-know things about diabetes and its management.
1. It is a Chronic Disease
Diabetes is a health condition that occurs when the body is unable to manage blood sugar levels. You get diabetes when your body is either unable to make or use insulin, a hormone responsible for blood sugar regulation. When you have diabetes, two conditions are true. Either the body does not produce any or enough insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin produced effectively. The causes of diabetes vary from one person to another depending on your genetic makeup, family history, ethnicity, and health and environmental factors. Diabetes is a chronic disease, meaning that it lasts a long time. There is no cure for diabetes, and the disease is managed using medication and lifestyle modification.
2. Types and Risk Factors for Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes namely Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin, and the causes and risk factors are unknown. Type 2 diabetes is a silent killer because it often goes unnoticed. It is the most common type of diabetes (95% of all diabetes cases) and occurs when body tissues become resistant to insulin. Among the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, family history of diabetes, physical inactivity, and having high blood pressure. While Type 2 diabetes is preventable, the prevention strategies for type 1 diabetes have been unsuccessful. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy due to physiological changes.
3. The Dangers of Diabetes
When blood sugar is not controlled over time, it causes widespread damage to the body. Diabetes has the capacity to cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, brain, and heart. Diabetes causes bad vision and even blindness when high levels of blood sugar damage blood vessels in the retina. High blood sugar harms the kidneys resulting in the organ’s inability to function properly. When the kidneys’ damage is severe, you have to undergo dialysis, which is costly and time-consuming. High blood sugar causes nerve problems such as impaired sensation in the hands and feet that may result in amputation. In addition, diabetes makes you vulnerable to diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Treating and Managing Diabetes
Early diagnosis and intervention are the basis of living well with diabetes. A combination of medications and a healthy lifestyle can control the level of blood sugar for a diabetic. Treating diabetes involves keeping blood sugar levels as near normal as possible. When managing diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar using the finger-prick test. A diabetic can use insulin injections to regulate blood sugars. A healthy lifestyle helps to manage type 2 diabetes and involves eating healthy foods, losing weight, and engaging in regular exercise. You can prevent diabetes or delay its onset by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting processed foods and saturated fats in your diet, avoiding tobacco and alcohol consumption, and checking your blood sugar frequently.
Diabetes is among the prominent health conditions around the world that affects many people. It leads to complications in many body organs such as the eyes, kidneys, nerve, and heart. By adopting a healthy lifestyle characterized by a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy body weight, you can prevent a large proportion of diabetes and its complications.
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