Diabetes simply means high blood sugar. It is a chronic disease that occurs when the body(pancreas) is unable to produce insulin or the body cannot utilize insulin as it should.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which is necessary for utilizing the glucose produced from breakdown of food. Insulin helps to convert glucose into energy.
There are three types of diabetes;
1. TYPE 1 DIABETES – occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin at all often due to destruction of the insulin-producing cells. It often affects in children and young adults, these people often need replacement by insulin injections daily to control their blood glucose.
2. TYPE 2 DIABETES – the insulin produced is not enough or the body is resistant to its effects. Type II diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, it can occur at any age and requires exercise and dietary modifications with or without oral medications and or insulin depending on the case.
3. GESTATIONAL DIABETES – this refers to increased blood glucose in pregnant women, the blood glucose usually reverts to normal after pregnancy, however, some women may develop type 2 diabetes after this.
Common factors associated with development of diabetes include;
- Family history of diabetes
Obesity and being overweight
Lack of regular exercise or physical inactivity
High fat and low fibre diet
Low birth weight
Impaired glucose tolerance
High blood sugar during pregnancy
Polycystic ovarian syndrome
The symptoms of diabetes appear very slowly. Some people do not even notice symptoms at all. The symptoms can include:
Being very thirsty
Passing large volumes of urine
Feeling very hungry or tired all the time even after eating
Losing weight despite eating well
Having sores that heal slowly
Having dry, itchy skin
Losing the feeling in your feet
Having a tingling feeling in your feet
Having blurred eyesight
A simple blood glucose test using a glucose meter or a laboratory test can be used .
There is no form of prevention for Type 1, however the following factors may reduce the chances of Type 2;
Healthy eating (less fats more fruits and vegetables)
Increasing physical activity
Drugs will be prescribed by your doctor if the above lifestyle modifications cannot control your blood glucose levels.