Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of diseases where a person has high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period of time. This high blood sugar, or glucose, results from an irregularity in insulin production in the body. The Insulin is a hormone that regulates our metabolism and activity in the body. Either it is because the body is not producing this hormone or is not responding properly to normal amounts, Diabetes is an extremely common disease worldwide, with 387 million people affected as of 2014, and resulting in between 1.5 and 4.9 million deaths per year.
What Causes Diabetes?
As mentioned before, there are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin. In a healthy human being, the pancreas produces certain amounts of this hormone, but in Type 1 diabetes patients, the pancreas simply isn’t doing its job. This form of diabetes is known as “juvenile diabetes,” as most of these patients are children. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s failure to appropriately respond to normal amounts of insulin. This is the most common form of diabetes, making up 90% of worldwide cases.
What are Diabetic Symptoms?
General symptoms for diabetes include frequent urination, increased hunger, and increased thirst. Because it is known as “juvenile diabetes”, Type 1 diabetes will be first seen and diagnosed in childhood. Because of this, symptoms will develop generally faster in type 1 diabetes patients, sometimes over the course of week or months. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes develops over a longer period of time. Consequently, the most likely candidate for Type 2 diabetes would be a middle aged person with poor health and lifestyle choices.
The Diabetic Diet
In order to compensate for the effects of this disease, diabetics must keep a strict diet. In general, diabetics are encouraged to eat foods high in dietary fiber and low in fats and sugars. More importantly, diabetics must time when they eat, so they avoid low blood sugar. Diabetics must check their glucose levels throughout the day and make sure the levels are not too low. If below a certain point, the patient must inject insulin, and consume foods high in carbohydrates, which increase blood sugar levels. In addition, diabetics must plan their meals around their insulin injections in order to avoid achieving a blood sugar level either too high or too low.
Living with Diabetes
As mentioned above, in addition to the strict measures surrounding eating, many diabetics must administer daily insulin injections for themselves in order to regulate blood sugar levels. These injections are painful and are given multiple times a day, depending on the severity of the disease. Pictured above is an image of common tools used by diabetics to perform these injections. Diabetics must make healthy lifestyle choices in order to regulate their disease. In addition to the benefits exercise has on your cardiovascular health, in general, it triggers increased levels of glucose productions that supply sufficient energy to work out.
As long as diabetics are able to maintain a proper diet and lifestyle, and have access to necessary medicine, they can live long and healthy lives!