What You Need To Know About Diabetes

What You Need To Know About Diabetes

What You Should Know About Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that results from the inability of the body to properly use and store glucose which is a form of sugar. The glucose stays put in the bloodstream instead of getting absorbed in the cells for proper use. This then causes the blood glucose aka blood sugar to rise to a high level.

Common Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes:

Formerly called juvenile onset or insulin-dependent diabetes and occurs majorly in children and young adults. In this case, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin and completely stops its production. Insulin is a hormone that enables the body to use glucose found in foods for energy. Type 1 diabetes patients must take daily insulin injections to survive. Even though it usually occurs in children and young adults as earlier mentioned, recently, cases in older people is on the increase.

Type 2 Diabetes:

Formerly known as Adult onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes occurs mostly in middle-aged and older people, although children and adolescents are susceptible to the disease. Type 2 diabetes results when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly (insulin resistance). It is the most common type of diabetes and easy targets are people who are over 40, overweight, and have a family history of diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes:

This type develops in some women when they are pregnant. A lot of times, this type of diabetes goes away after childbirth. However, it increases a person’s chances of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

How Common Is Diabetes in Nigeria?

As at 2015, out of over 87.2million adults in Nigeria, over 1.7million cases of diabetes in adults was recorded, representing a 2% of the population. Type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 95% of cases. Sadly, most people are unaware they have this condition.

Who Is At Risk of Developing Diabetes?

People aged 45 or older, who have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Other factors may include physical inactivity, race (Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders), and certain health problems such as high blood pressure, prediabetes or had gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Common Symptoms of Diabetes

People with diabetes frequently experience certain symptoms. These may include:

  • being very thirsty
  • frequent urination
  • weight loss
  • increased hunger
  • blurry vision
  • irritability
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • frequent skin, bladder or gum infections
  • wounds that don’t heal
  • extreme unexplained fatigue

In some cases, there are no symptoms — this happens at times with type 2 diabetes. In this case, people can live for months, even years without knowing they have the disease. This form of diabetes comes on so gradually that symptoms may not even be recognized. Regular blood glucose (blood sugar) checks are therefore advised.

How Can Diabetes Be Treated?

Whether Type 1 or type 2 diabetes, affected persons need to imbibe certain practices to stay healthy. These include Proper meal (eating) plan, engage in appropriate physical activity which can help the body use insulin better by converting glucose to energy for the cells, Insulin injections are compulsory for Type 1 diabetics and some Type 2 diabetics, take your medication, regular health reviews with your doctor, learn to monitor your blood glucose, know the right footwear and skin products to use.

What Other Problems Can Diabetes Cause?

When poorly managed, diabetes can give rise to other complications, some of which may include:

  • heart attacks,
  • strokes,
  • blindness,
  • kidney failure,
  • foot problems
  • dental disease
  • blood vessel disease that may require an amputation,
  • nerve damage,
  • impotence in men

Can Diabetes Be Prevented?

Recent studies have shown that there are things people can do to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes especially Type 2 diabetes in adults who have a high possibility of developing the disease. Appropriate lifestyle changes can go a long way to help you achieve this. Eating healthy, engaging in modest physical activity (30 minutes daily), modest weight loss (5-10% of body weight) are health goals that individuals can set and achieve for a healthier life.

Courtesy: Chioma Ukariaku

Author: Chima, VibrantMeNG Team

 

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