Introduction to Diabetes
- Diabetes is one of the most common persistent diseases observed in children to adults, caused due to insufficient insulin production in the pancreas.
Close-up of needle, glucometer, and strips
- The pancreas detects glucose to produce insulin, responsible for transporting glucose into cells to generate energy for the body, thus controlling the blood sugar level. When there is no insulin production, this is Type 1 diabetes found in children.
- Here, the children will have to monitor their glucose levels and dietary intake. While Type 2 is observed in adults having an insufficient amount of insulin produced compared to the level of sugar in the blood.
- They are either required to take insulin in the form of injections to compensate for its low production or take prescribed medications if the glucose level is high (hyperglycemia).
- This issue is lifelong and can significantly impact health conditions if insulin and sugar levels are not controlled. Hence, it is crucial to be aware and detect the onset of diabetes early to reduce any future risk factors.
- In around 2017, approximately 9 million of the world’s population suffered from type 1 diabetes which is estimated to increase. In comparison, type 2 diabetes has been observed in around 95% of the world population.
- This chronic disease is commonly found in the adult population aged between 20-79 years as of 2021, and is estimated to increase by around 600 million by the next decade.
- In India, the elderly population aged between 60-79 years are observed to have type 2 diabetes in common. Studies have shown that the population aged above 20 in urban areas consists of around 10.9%-14.2% diabetes while only 3%-7.8% in rural areas.
- Due to the risk of getting diabetes around middle age, it is vital for the individual to be cautious about the symptoms and have routine check-ups; thus, early discovery leads to early treatment.
- For a healthy individual, the average blood sugar level is 99mg/dL before a meal and 140mg/dL two hours after meal, while the high level is 130mg/dL before meal and 180mg/dL two hours after a meal, and the low-level being <70mg/dL.
- Lower than this amount will pose a very high health risk and can be fatal.
- Type 1 These disease is found at an early stage of childhood and can be hereditary with a family history of diabetes, but it can also be an autoimmune disorder. Here, the body’s immune system fails to recognize insulin-producing pancreatic cells (beta cells), thus destroying them.
- Environmental factors also influence diabetes in children, in addition to some geographical regions and ethnicity, which are found to have increased type 1 diabetes.
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- Type 2 diabetes is primarily found in adults over 20 years of age caused due to their lifestyle choices, such as:
- Poor diet – most foods have carbohydrates, sugars, and fats adding to increased daily calorie intake than the required amount. Accumulation of these nutrients and calories will lead to obesity.
- Inadequate physical activities – if the energy produced by cells from glucose is utilised, it will increase glucose concentration in the blood.
- Other influencing factors include alcohol, smoking, cholesterol, and women with polycystic disorders.
- The risks involved with diabetes are numerous because the cell function is affected, which disrupts the body’s functions leading to permanent damage. Common issues observed in diabetes include:
- Cardiovascular failure
- Kidney failure
- Nerve disease
- Reduced vision to blindness
- Complications during pregnancy
Prevention and Treatment
- There are various preventive measures and treatments to control insulin and blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetic patients must take insulin injections daily to reduce the risk of severe health issues.
- However, if the patient goes without insulin for a few days, it will be fatal. Therefore, they should monitor their glucose and cholesterol levels.
close-up of insulin injection and bottle containing insulin
- Patients with type 2 diabetes are controlled majorly by living a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet, adequate physical activity, and maintaining obesity are the most critical prevention measures.
- Additionally, prescribed oral medications are taken for patients with higher blood sugar levels and insulin injections in some cases.
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- The best way to delay and reduce diabetes is by regular exercise to burn excess glucose and fat and a balanced diet with only the necessary calorie intake. The two major nutrients to be controlled are sugar and carbohydrates.
- These carbohydrates are broken down to produce glucose that adds to the blood-sugar levels. Visiting a qualified dietician or a nutritionist is recommended in case of increased health risk, who will provide a dietary plan and exercises tailored for the individual.
also read this fact about world diabetes day