INTRODUCTION TO DIABETES
When your body is digesting food, it turns the food into a sugar called glucose, which travels throughout the body in blood to give energy to where it is needed. Hormones known as insulin help the sugar to be absorbed by cells in your body, where they can be stored up for use.
But when you have diabetes, your body does not release the right amount of insulin to help absorb glucose properly. This means a lot of sugar is left in your blood.
If left uncontrolled, diabetes can affect the heart and blood vessels, causing heart disease and stroke. Small vessels in the eyes, kidneys and nerves can get damaged too. This is why diabetic patients often find themselves getting injured without realising it, and their wounds take a longer time to heal.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS
You may have diabetes if you notice the following:
- Constant Hunger
- Blurred Vision
- Numbness In Hands Or Feet
- Itchy Skin
- Especially in the genital areas.
- Frequent Urination
- Increased Thirst
- Rapid Weight Loss
WHAT CAUSES IT
People with Type 1 diabetes have high blood sugar level as their body cannot produce enough insulin. This is often caused by an unidentified virus that attacks the organ producing insulin, also known as the pancreas. Some people are born with a higher risk of getting Type 1 diabetes.
The more common form of Diabetes is Type 2 diabetes. If you have this problem, your body can produce insulin but it is not working well to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. This is often caused by your genes and your lifestyle, such as being overweight, not getting enough exercise, eating unhealthily and having high blood pressure.
The risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes are not very clear, but they include your genes, your body's immunity to viral attacks, and environmental factors.
You can be at higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes if you are older, obese, not getting enough exercise, have a family history of diabetes or had diabetes while pregnant, or if your body's ability to respond to insulin is affected.
HOW IT IS DIAGNOSED
- The doctor may ask you to take a blood glucose test. You must fast for at least eight hours prior to the test. This is used to detect diabetes or pre-diabetes, which is when you are at very high risk of developing diabetes.
- You may also have to take an oral glucose tolerance test, which measures your blood glucose after you fasted at least eight hours without food, and two hours after taking a drink that contains glucose. This test can also be used to diagnose diabetes or pre-diabetes.
- A random blood glucose test, along with an assessment of symptoms, is used to diagnose diabetes but not pre-diabetes.
Test results that are positive are repeated with the same testing process on a different day to confirm the diagnosis of the disease.
HOW IT IS TREATED
For Type 1 diabetic patients, a healthy diet, exercise and insulin injections are the basic forms of therapy. They must make sure the amount of insulin they take is balanced by the food they eat and their daily activities.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes must also adopt a healthy diet, exercise and take blood glucose tests often. They also need to take medication and/or insulin to control their blood sugar level.
HOW TO PREVENT IT
Regular exercise can go a long way to cutting your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is usually linked to obesity. Staying healthy by watching your weight and what you eat are important.
Source: Singapore Silver Pages
The views, material and information presented by any third party are strictly the views of such third party. Without prejudice to any third party content or materials whatsoever are provided for information purposes and convenience only. Council For The Third Age shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising directly or indirectly howsoever in connection with or as a result of any person accessing or acting on any information contained in such content or materials. The presentation of such information by third parties on this Council For The Third Age website does not imply and shall not be construed as any representation, warranty, endorsement or verification by Council For The Third Age in respect of such content or materials.