Fighting Diabetes Mellitus This World Diabetes Day

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Most of us have heard about diabetes as an ailment but not many people really understand the medical condition. For instance, it is not a commonly known fact that the medical condition is properly known as Diabetes Mellitus.  Today, on World Diabetes Day 2019, as recognized by the International Diabetes Federation, we bring you the complete knowledge on Diabetes and how important is the support of family is fighting it.

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Commonly known as Diabetes, Diabetes Mellitus is a medical condition that affects blood glucose levels in the body. While there are two types of Diabetes - Type 1 and Type 2, the more common form of it is the latter which originates in adolescence but makes its presence felt in adulthood. 

  • Type 1 diabetes is genetic and can be treated with insulin injections
  • Type 2 diabetes is preventable but is also one of the leading causes of death.

What Causes Diabetes Mellitus?

People with Diabetes Mellitus are insulin resistant and thus their cells do not utilize the insulin produced by the pancreas which in turn results in elevated sugar levels in the blood. 

Some of the factors that may result in Diabetes -

  • Genetics and family history
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Excessive consumption of polished and refined carbohydrates
  • Obesity 
  • Lack of physical exercise

Diabetes is often also known to be a result of a combination of factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and noticeable extra weight around the waist. Moreover, a chain reaction between broken beta cells and miscommunication between cells can also result in diabetes.

Who is at a Risk?

Depending upon a person's age, and family history, some people are medically more prone to detecting diabetes. According to statistics, the following factors and their combination could contribute to the same -

  • Age 45 years or more
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Ethnicity among African-American, Alaska Native, Native American, Asian-American, Hispanic or Latino, or Pacific Islander-American

Additionally, certain medical conditions make you 'at risk' of being diabetic.

  • Pre-diabetic detection
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • High blood pressure
  • vLow HDL cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Obesity
  • Having a baby weighing over 9 pounds
  • Gestational diabetes during pregnancy
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Acanthosis nigricans
  • Depression

How do you detect diabetes?

While many of the diabetic symptoms go undetected, it is possible to watch out for signs and be aware of the changes in your body. If you pay attention and notice the changes, you could take the necessary steps to mitigate any damage.

  • A sudden increase in thirst
  • Excessive urination, especially at night
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Longer healing duration for wounds 
  • Frequently returning yeast infections 

Complications of Diabetes

Excessive blood sugar levels, if left untreated can result in added difficulties for the body.  It can cause damage to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes, nerves, and a consequential impact on digestion, and feet. In some cases, it may also affect a woman's pregnancy.

Prevention and Cure for Diabetes

What many people don't know is that while diabetes seems like a scary disease, it can be prevented or cared for with simple lifestyle changes and medication. Most doctors recommend healthy lifestyles for diabetic and prediabetic people with an added importance on shedding extra weight. 

Including a healthy diet in your daily routine, too, helps greatly with preventing and fighting diabetes. It is recommended to add fiber in the form of fruits and vegetables into the diet while cutting back on carbs, especially sugar. 

To maintain optimum blood sugar levels despite insulin resistance, it is recommended that one engages in physical activity for a minimum of 30-60 minutes each day. In the process, losing 5 to 10% of the body weight is also ideal.

World Diabetes Day, 2019

The theme for 2019's World Diabetes Day is 'Family and Diabetes' to raise awareness on the impact of family support on prevention and care for diabetes. According to a 2018 survey by International Diabetes Federation, 4 out of 5 parents struggled to identify the signs of diabetes in their children. It is thus essential that we raise awareness about it to prevent a future occurrence of terrible reporting of 4 million deaths (in 2017 alone) due to diabetes.

India is amongst the 6 nations IDF's South-East Asian region where the number of diabetic cases is expected to rise to 151 million by the year 2045. It is thus time we take the step in the right direction to join the fight against diabetes!