Your heart beats faster, your knees go weak, you start to sweat. Is this love? No, you’re probably hypoglycemic.
Until recently I had not paid much attention towards diabetes running in my family. I had convinced myself that major risk factors for diabetes is obesity and a sedentary lifestyle and since I keep myself fit I don’t have to worry about it but I was wrong in not knowing the fact that it can be acquired genetically as well. My mother started complaining about pain in right eye socket some time back. As she had her cataract operation a few months back, we doubted that the pain is related to eye and went to see our ophthalmologist. All the tests related to the eye problem were done and it seemed to be normal. The doctor advised not to climb stairs too often and to avoid rubbing and wiping eyes. Some pain killers solved the problem until one day she complained about having double vision and on same day later she suffered a paralysis attack on her right eye. At this time we rushed to a neurologist who along with his treatment also referred to a diabetologist and we realized that the entire problem was due to her diabetes. We were too late to realize the real seriousness of diabetes and her eye could be recovered only 60-70%. I am writing this blog post in order to increase the awareness in people towards diabetes and do remember “when in doubt , go see a doctor”. We must realize that it is very important to know if you are diabetic.
After we eat or drink, our body breaks down the sugar in our blood and turns it into glucose. The glucose travels through our blood stream and provides our body with energy. To accomplish this, our pancreas needs to produce a hormone called insulin. In a person who is suffering with diabetes, the pancreas is not in a proper state of functioning i.e. it either produces too little to no insulin at all, or the insulin can’t be metabolized and used effectively. This leads to higher glucose levels in the blood while the rest of our cells are deprived of much needed energy. This can lead to a wide variety of problems affecting nearly every part of our body.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 which is also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes is an immune system disorder. In Type 1 diabetes, the patient’s own immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, destroying the ability to manufacture insulin. As a result no or very little insulin is released into the body and sugar builds up in blood instead of being used as energy. People with Type 1 diabetes are treated with insulin and meal planning. About 10% of all the people who are diagnosed as diabetic have Type 1 diabetes and most of time this type of diabetes develop in childhood or adolescence.
The main problem in Type 2 diabetes is our body being insulin insensitive. The body is unable to use the insulin that is being release. In this sort of diabetes, the pancreas starts off robust in its production of insulin. However, cells that need energy don’t respond normally to the usual amounts of insulin. The pancreas has to produce much higher levels of the hormone in order to manage blood glucose levels. Over time, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas can burn themselves out due to this overproduction. At this point a person with Type 2 diabetes begins to require insulin medication. However, in earlier phases of this more common type of diabetes, the illness can be effectively managed with diet, exercise, and careful monitoring of blood sugars. Some people with Type 2 diabetes may require a variety of oral medications and eventually, as descried above, some will eventually need insulin.
A third Type of diabetes, Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy. It is a temporary condition that affects both mother and child. Most of the time, gestational diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise, and it typically resolves after the baby is delivered.
Common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, and sluggishness. Blood tests will reveal high sugar levels.
The Symptoms and Effects of Diabetes on the Body
Pancreas Malfunction –A poorly functioning or non functioning pancreas won’t produce the insulin our body needs to convert sugar into energy.
Ketoacidosis –To make up for the lack of insulin, the body uses other hormones to turn fat into energy. This produces high levels of toxic acids called ketones. The result can be life threatening.
Extreme Thirst and Dry, Cracked Skin –Extreme thirst is often one of the noticeable signs of diabetes. Lack of moisture can lead to dry, cracked skin, especially on the feet.
Excessive Urination –Having to urinate frequently may be an early warning sign of diabetes.
Sweet Smelling Breath –Breath that has a sweet scent may indicate high levels of ketones, a serious complication of diabetes.
Loss of Consciousness –Without treatment, diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to loss of consciousness.
Protein in the Urine –High levels of protein in the urine may mean that our kidneys have suffered some damage and aren’t functioning well.
Lack of Concentration –Problems with our kidneys can make it hard to concentrate, among other symptoms.
Stomach Problems –Too much glucose can keep food in our stomach too long, causing bloating, heartburn and nausea.
Damaged Blood Vessels –Too much glucose in our system can cause restricted blood flow, leading to a variety of symptoms. Smokers with diabetes are at even higher risk.
Foot Problems –Lack of circulation can create a host of problems with our feet. Diabetes increases our risk of calluses, infection or ulcers of the foot.
High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease –Diabetics have increased risk of developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels put added strain on the heart, increasing the risk of cardio vascular disease.
Stroke –People with diabetes are at higher risk of stroke than people without diabetes.
Bacterial, Fungal, and Yeast Infection –Diabetes raises your risk of infection like staph. The most likely place or infection is your feet.
Peripheral Neuropathy –Damaged nerves can alter your perception of heat, cold and pain and that’s not a good thing.
Diabetic Retinopathy –Damaged blood vessels in the eyes can cause visual disturbances like floaters. Untreated, it can lead to blindness.
Cataracts and Glaucoma –People with diabetes have a higher incidence of cataracts and glaucoma than people without diabetes. They are more likely to occur at an earlier age, too.
When you know if you are diabetic
If you are facing one or more symptoms frequently then the best advice would be to test your blood glucose levels. If you find out you are diabetic, there is no need to panic there are strategies that include identifying your food preferences and exercise. I would suggest you to read the post better living with diabetes – your complete care plan to adapt easily with your diabetes.
To conclude this article
For those fighting a battle that leaves you tired throughout the day and awake at night. With no prevention or cure. That demands your time, energy, and strength. With fingers worn and your heart torn. Just know you are not alone. Keep fighting!