What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease where an individual has too much sugar in the blood instead of the sugar being used in the cells. Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by hyperglycemia as a result of insulin secretion defects.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
The symptoms include; frequent urination, fatigue and drowsiness, increase in thirst, increase in hunger, unexplained weight loss, changes in normal vision and slow healing of wounds.
Who is at risk of diabetes?
Those more at risk are aged 45 years and above, overweight persons, have high blood pressure, family history of diabetes and children who weighed more than nine pounds at birth.
But remember, most of these diseases depend on how you live your lifestyle, fast and young, old and slow.
What are the complications of diabetes?
Some of the complications of diabetes are; eye damage, kidney damage, heart problems, nerve damage, weak immune system, sores and ulcers of the legs and feet.
What are the types of diabetes?
It is classified into 4 general categories;
- Type 1 diabetes. This results from absolute insulin deficiency, caused by an autoimmune destruction of pancreatic islet cells. This is characterized by acute illness or symptoms of hyperglycaemia. The symptoms of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) are sweating, extreme fatigue, hunger, irritation, rapid heart rate and blurred vision. Other autoimmune diseases such as anaemia may go with type 1 diabetes. This form of diabetes is inherited. It leaves the patient lean with normal insulin sensitivity. In the long term, type 1 diabetics develop some retinopathy. This is a vision threatening condition. Patients are usually dependent on exogenous insulin and are at risk of ketoacidosis.
- Type 2 diabetes. This is caused by an insulin deficiency caused by an underlying insulin resistance. It is characterized by abdominal obesity, hypertension, lipid abnormalities, atherosclerosis and hyperuricemia. This type of diabetes is attributed to inadequacy or lack of physical activity, age and obesity. Type 2 diabetes usually (90%) occurs to people with a family history of diabetes. Patients of type 2 diabetes may be asymptomatic but are not prone to ketoacidosis.
- Gestational diabetes – This is a type of diabetes that is usually diagnosed in pregnancy. The patient has glucose intolerance. It usually affects overweight/obese women and/or those who have a family history of diabetes. It also affects those who have poly cystic ovary syndrome and those who have ever delivered a larger for gestation age infant. It affects about 7 % of all pregnant women. The foetuses of mothers with hyperglycaemia are at greater risk of intrauterine death. Breast feeding is recommended in women who have gestational diabetes mellitus. Consulting with an obstetrician experienced in gestational diabetes should be adapted too.
- Other forms of diabetes. There are individual specific diabetes and they include; substance induced hyperglycaemia, genetic defects of islet cell function and Cushing’s syndrome.