Knowledge about Diabetes is essential

Diabetes Education and Prevention is the World Diabetes Day theme for the period 2009-2013

Diabetes DAY


Keeping the aim of diabetes education in mind, we also make an attempt to educate people about diabetes and its diagnosis.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease where body is unable to handle glucose properly. Glucose is an important source of energy for all the cells of our body. Glucose derived from the food is utilized in the body in presence of insulin. Insulin is released from the pancreas which is a small organ situated at the back of abdomen. The glucose can only go into the body cells in presence of insulin and subsequently be utilized. So glucose in the blood can increase if sufficient insulin is not released from the pancreas or even if produced is not doing its proper function (a condition called insulin resistance). In diabetes too much glucose accumulates in the body and causes immediate and long term harmful effects. Immediate effects of high blood glucose manifest as dehydration.
What are the types of diabetes? Two types of diabetes are common. Type 1 means there is total insulin deficiency and type 2 means a combination of insulin resistance and some insulin deficiency. Type 1 diabetes mostly occurs in children and type 2 is more often seen after 30 years of age. Pre diabetes means disorder occurring before the onset of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can first appear during pregnancy – a condition called gestational diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Symptoms depend upon the level of rise in blood glucose. In type 1 diabetes, because of absolute insulin deficiency, blood glucose rapidly increases and onset of symptoms is stormy. Some of the signs and symptoms of diabetes include:
1. Increased thirst
2. Frequent urination
3. Extreme hunger
4. Unexplained weight loss
5. Fatigue
6. Blurred vision and frequent need for changing glasses.
7. Slow-healing sores
8.  High blood pressure
9. Frequent infections, such as gum, skin, chest and urine 
Some people, especially those with pre diabetes or type 2diabetes may not experience symptoms initially.

Who are the people at increased risk of diabetes?
Common type of diabetes develops typically after 30 years, some conditions pre dispose to development of diabetes at younger age. Some of these conditions are:  
1. Overweight: The fatter we are, the more resistant our cells are to insulin.
2. Inactivity: The less active we are the greater is our risk. Physical activity helps us to control weight, use glucose and make our cells more sensitive to insulin.
3. Family history: Our risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
4. Race: People of certain races including Asians are at higher risk for development of diabetes.
5. Age:  Elderly people are more prone to develop diabetes. But type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults also.
6. Gestational diabetes: Women developing diabetes during pregnancy are predisposed to diabetes after delivery also
7. Polycystic ovary syndrome:  It is a common condition among young girls characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity. It predisposes to diabetes later in life.
8.  High blood pressure:  High blood pressure (>140/90) is frequently associated with diabetes.
9.  Abnormal cholesterol levels: Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL < 35 mg/dL) and high levels of triglycerides (TG >250mg/dL) also increase the risk of diabetes.

Who needs to test for diabetes? 
Anybody over the age of 30 years . If the age is less than 30 in presence of above risk factors need to test early, may be at 20 years only.

What test to do and when to do?
Blood glucose is estimated at any nearby laboratory. Preferably fasting is required (fasting means 12 hours of fasting). However if fasting is not possible or person has symptoms like increased thirst, urination or weight loss, random blood glucose estimation will do, (random means any time after meals). If the test is abnormal and person is asymptomatic, test has to be repeated on some other day.

What is Hb A1C?
Hemoglobin A1C (it is a subtype of adult hemoglobin to which glucose gets attached and can be measured). It tells us overall glucose levels in the previous 3 months. In the present days it is an important took along with measurement of blood glucose for diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes.
What are normal and abnormal blood glucose and Hb A1C values?
 State  Normal Pre diabetes Diabetes
Fasting (mgs/dl) < 100 100-125 >126
Random (mgs/dl) < 140 140-199 >200
Hb A1C <5.7 5.7-6.4 >6.5

Some disturbing facts about diabetes
1.  There are currently 366 million people living with diabetes. This figure is set to rise to over 550 million by 2030.
2. Diabetes is responsible for 4.6 million deaths a year - 1 every 7 seconds.
3. Diabetes is among the top 10 causes of disability, resulting in life-threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, lower limb amputations and blindness.
4. 50% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed.
5. 80% of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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