Well if you want to know what is diabetes, it is a worldwide problem related to both lifestyle and genetics as well as some unknowns. According to a recent research conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, roughly 101 million Indians have diabetes, with another 136 million in the pre-diabetic stage.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition which develops when the pancreas does not release enough insulin to meet the body’s requirements for various reasons, or when the body is unable to properly utilize insulin owing to resistance.
Glucose is released in the bloodstream once food is broken down. A rise in blood sugar level results in Pancreas releasing due to which blood sugar is utilized by cells as energy.
If the pancreas does not produce sufficient amounts of insulin or cells develop resistance to insulin, it will cause blood sugar levels in the body to increase leading to diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
In Type 1 diabetes pancreas makes very little or no insulin at all. Insulin helps the glucose in the bloodstream to enter the cells in our body which is used as energy. In the absence of insulin blood sugar fails to enter the cells and rises in the bloodstream.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes arises when secretion of insulin is insufficient in helping cells in utilizing an appropriate quantity of glucose in the blood. In certain circumstances, the cells may develop insulin resistance. In each of these cases, the blood sugar level increases.
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 1.5 diabetes is also called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in adulthood and gradually turns worse with time as the person gets old.
In 1.5 diabetes pancreas stops making insulin, but this process develops slowly and patients aren’t required to take insulin immediately.
Pregnant women with no prior history in diabetes may develop Gestational Diabetes during her pregnancy. If someone experiences gestational diabetes, the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes increases significantly.
It is not uncommon for people to have diabetes without being aware of it because the symptoms do not make them feel unwell.
Here are some common diabetes symptoms:
- Persistent feeling of thirst
- Increased frequency of urination.
- Consistent fatigue.
- Gradual loss of weight with increased appetite.
- Delayed recovery from illness or healing of wounds
- Repeated episodes of itching or fungal infection around the genitals
- Blurred vision
Symptoms of Diabetes in Men include:
- Erectile dysfunction due to damage to nerves and blood vessels.
- Genital thrush due to fungal yeast infection.
- Reduced muscle mass.
Symptoms of Diabetes present in women include:
- Itching around genitals and pain with vaginal and oral yeast infection
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning scalp hair
- Hair growth on face and body
- Frequent urinary tract infections
The exact cause of most types of diabetes is not known. Diabetes’s basic cause is when the body does not produce sufficient quantities of insulin or develops insulin resistance. This leads to abnormally higher levels of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream.
Type 1 Diabetes Causes
Type 1 Diabetes is supposed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin in the body.
Diabetes Type 1 is also triggered by following factors:
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Chemical toxins within food
- Unidentified trigger in the environment in persons with a genetic predisposition.
Type 2 Diabetes Causes
Type 2 Diabetes has multiple causes and a variety of risk factors. Most important is the family history of type 2 diabetes.
Other important contributing factors for Diabetes Type 2 are :
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Growing old
- Bad food habits
- Infection of the pancreas or pancreatitis.
Type 1.5 Diabetes Causes
Type 1.5 Diabetes can be caused by damage to the pancreas by antibodies to insulin-producing beta cells. Some genetic traits can be possible triggers.
Gestational Diabetes Causes
During pregnancy, the body makes some important hormones and goes through changes like weight gain. Due to these changes body cells are sometimes unable to use insulin properly, a condition called insulin resistance. Most of the pregnant women may secrete sufficient insulin and overcome insulin resistance but some may not and develop gestational diabetes. Being overweight or having a family history of diabetes is linked to gestational diabetes.
Diabetes can cause severe and sometimes life-threatening complications.
- High blood sugar can have high sugar levels in saliva and may compromise oral health. Bacteria in the mouth flourish in this saliva can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities.
- It can cause damage to blood vessels in the retina and damaged blood vessels can swell and leak. This leads to diabetic retinopathy in both eyes. It may also be responsible for macular edema, cataract, and glaucoma.
Diabetic patients are at high risk of developing:
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Heart failure
- Myocardial infarction
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Kidney Dysfunction
- Renal failure
Prevention of Diabetes
We can prevent Diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes in our daily routine such as maintaining a normal body weight and being more physically active. Physical activity increases the insulin sensitivity of cells. Brisk walking and aerobic exercise are good options.
It is important to eat a diet that includes broccoli, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, protein from eggs, tofu, fish, chicken, and yogurt, whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, nuts, legumes, and citrus fruits. If you quit smoking, it helps prevent or delay the onset of diabetes as well. Avoid saturated fats, sugary foods, and starchy foods.
Diagnosing diabetes early is essential for effective management. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for treating diabetes. Controlling blood sugar through diet, oral medication which may include alternative medicine or insulin is the main treatment. Monitoring of complications at regular intervals is essential for the better management of diabetes.
Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes and 1.5 Diabetes
Type 1 and Type 1.5 diabetes treatment varies from individual to individual and is complex.
- These patients require insulin injection daily in divided doses to remain alive and healthy.
- The dose of insulin depends upon the patient’s weight ,age, his physical activity and the type and amount of diet he eats.
- It also depends on his blood glucose level, So close monitoring of the blood glucose level is needed.
- Larger doses of insulin are required during pregnancy, puberty and when one is taking steroid medicines.
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes
|HOW IT WORKS
|Reduces excessive release of glucose from the liver and also increases the sensitivity of insulin.
|Stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin constantly but also increases the risk of low blood sugar and weight gain.
|Stimulates the pancreas to stimulate more insulin but at the same time increases the risk of low blood sugar and weight gain.
|Makes the body’s cells more sensitive to insulin. Possible side effects include, risk of congestive cardiac failure, bladder cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.
|block the reabsorption of glucose and enhances its excretion via filtration through kidneys. So more glucose is removed in urine. These medicines minimize the chances of heart attack and stroke.
Gestational Diabetes Treatment
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels every few hours throughout the day. For credible advice, consult your gynecologist if your blood sugar levels are high.
Alternative Medicine for Diabetes
Alternative medicines or alternative therapies are being widely practiced by the diabetic the world over because total recovery from diabetes is not achieved till now.
Several alternative medicines such as Homoeopathic, Ayurvedic, Unani, Siddha, and therapies like Dietary supplements, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and Yoga asanas for diabetes along with various medicinal herbs are also used to control high blood sugar.
Homeopathic Medicine for Diabetes
Most widely used homeopathic medicines for diabetes treatment are:
- Syzygium Jambolanum Q.
It is the most useful remedy in diabetes mellitus when there is great thirst, copious urination of high specific gravity, debility and diabetic ulceration.
- Gymnema Sylvestre Q.
Excellent medicine for diabetes mellitus when there is frequent urination day and night. Urine is of high specific gravity and contains a large quantity of sugar.
- Helonias Q.
Diabetes with albuminous and phosphatic urine . Urine is profuse and clear and contains sugar.
- Phosphoric Acid
Diabetes with impotence and frequent profuse, watery and milky urine.
- Uranium Nitricum
Diabetes with nephropathy,high blood pressure, and great emaciation,withincresed appetite and thirst.
Unani Medicine for Diabetes
Unani medicines in single and compound formulations are said to be useful in type 2 diabetes.
Unani antidiabetic formulations like Qurse Tabasheer. Safoof-e-Ziabetes-Dulbi and Garlitab Are the most recommended medicines. These medicines are also used as an adjuvant with the conventional drugs.
Siddha Medicine for Diabetes
In the Siddh system of medicines diabetes is known as Neerizhivu , Pramagham, Madhumegham etc.
Siddha medicines act by strengthening the pancreas, regulating the easy flow of insulin and increasing the glucose intolerance and curing chronic diabetes mellitus.
Medicines like Seenthil Kudineer, Seenthil Choornam, Vilva Kudineer, Madhumegha Choornam, Silasathu Parpam, Abaraka chendooram and Triphala Choornam etc are used as siddha medicines.
Ayurvedic Medicine for Diabetes
The Ayurvedic system approaches any illness holistically. Ayurveda describes diabetes as Madhumeha (literally, sweet urine).
Prameha refers to diseases associated with high blood sugar levels. Diabetes mellitus is known as Vata Prameha.
It results from an imbalance in Vata Dosha. Kapha Prameha (Diabetes insipidus) occurs as a result of an imbalance of the Kapha Dosha.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Diabetes
Various traditional Indian herbs are beneficial in managing blood sugar levels and boost overall immunity.
Karela or Bitter melon contains flavonoids, saponin, catechins, charantin which are effective in insulin production and helps in regulating blood sugar levels.
Jamun seeds stimulate insulin secretion, making them excellent for people with diabetes. Furthermore, jamun seeds facilitate wound healing in diabetics and reduce the risk of kidney dysfunction.
Giloy leaves are quite effective in controlling blood sugar levels and treating other symptoms related to diabetes. The antioxidants in this herb also help boost immunity and reduce free radical damage.
Revered as one of the most versatile and powerful herbs in Ayurveda, Amla is rich in vitamin C and contains chromium which helps in regulating carbohydrate metabolism, enhances insulin sensitivity and aids in regulating blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is a serious medical problem that affects millions of people across the world.
If not tackled properly it can lead to various health complications which includes, heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and damage to nerves.
It is a slow killer and there is no curable treatment available till now.
But by creating awareness among the masses about the types of diabetes, its causes, symptoms, and the available option of treatment for diabetes the individuals are persuaded to choose the best possible option of treatment.
This will help them to manage the condition effectively to prevent diabetic complications and lead a healthy life.
Nidhi Bhardwaj is a content writer with a creative edge towards science. She is currently pursuing her MBA.
Her love for expressing via words has inspired her to venture into creative writing. She is intrigued to explore various unfamiliar fields and treasures of knowledge the world has to offer.
She desires to share her experience and learnings with readers from all walks of life.