Diabetes - The 'Sweet' Disorder

Diabetes – This word needs no introduction. The medical condition that is growing at an alarming rate and striking young and old alike without disparity is the topic that I have chosen for the 4th edition of Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon.Since I am already writing on health care under the topic 365 days of healthy living,I thought I will include this topic on Diabetes under the same.So here I will be talking about Diabetes, diabetic health care, diet and some recipes that are suitable for the diabetic meal.

Check out what the topics and the marathoners for this week....

Diabetes Diet/Management: Srivalli, Champa, Harini, PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Kalyani, Shylaja, Veena
Seven Days of Soup:Usha, Sowmya
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Suresh 
Seven days of Cakes:  Anusha

Well, as I said earlier, Diabetes is a medical condition that most of us are familiar with. Almost every family has a person with Diabetes. A few years ago being diagnosed with Diabetes was considered dreadful but now- it’s like, ‘Oh-that-one! I- got- it- too-’ kind of ‘Take-it-easy’ disease.

Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot utilize the glucose in the blood and as a result a large amount of glucose remains in the blood stream.

If you are wondering where from the glucose came, here is what happens. The food we eat is digested into simpler compounds and the end product is glucose. Glucose is the fuel to the cells of the body. A hormone called Insulin is produced in our body by the pancreas [Islets of Langerhans]. In a normal person, the insulin helps the glucose enter the cell. Sometimes the insulin fails to act [which may be due to inadequacy or because the body in is not able to produce insulin] and the glucose is not able to enter the cell and the glucose remains in the blood in high amounts while the cells are starved of energy [Glucose]

Factors that trigger diabetes

  1. Heredity / Genetic Risk Factor - A family history of diabetes increases the change of getting it and so does belonging to these ethnic groups - Alaskans, American Indians, Asians, Africans and Hispanics.
  2. Age – In many instances, Type II diabetes occurs in 40+ age group as that is the time when the body has fewer insulin producing beta cells
  3. Virus – Some researchers say that viruses play a role in causing diabetes by destroying the insulin producing cells
  4. An injury or accident involving the pancreas
  5. Problems in the immune system
  6. Stress – It is believed that hormones released during stress block the effect of insulin in glucose
  7. Other health conditions – Obesity, High blood pressure , high cholesterol levels, family history of heart disease, women who have polycystic ovarian disease, those who had gestational diabetes [diabetes during pregnancy] and those who gave birth to over weight babies are more prone to diabetes
  8. Sedentary life style / not adequate exercise
  9. Unhealthy eating habits
  10. Drug induced- Some drugs are known to induce this lethal disease and that’s why Physicians advice that no drugs must be taken without their knowledge.
The common symptoms of Diabetes are….

  1. Polyphagia – Excessive hunger
  2. Polydypsia – Excessive thirst
  3. Polyurea – Excessive urination
 These three are the usually termed as classic symptoms.Apart from these some other symptoms may also be present like extreme weight loss/ gain, genital itching , blurred vision, delayed wound healing, fatigue , etc.

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes can be classified under these headers

  1. Type I diabetes – It is also called Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus / Juvenile onset diabetes mellitus.Here, the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin required for the body are destroyed.Hence there is very little or no insulin available from the pancreas.So what happens is even though there is glucose in the blood stream, the cells are starving for the fuel[glucose].It is seen in children and young adults and very rarely in adults.Insulin injections, diet and lifestyle modifications are the treatment for this type of diabetes. Experiments are going on in the field on transplantation where insulin producing pancreatic cells are transplanted to the affected individual.It may take a long time for it to be considered an effective way of treatment.Until then external source of insulin in the form of injections is the only way of treating it for now.
  2. Type II diabetes -  In this type of diabetes, very little insulin is produced by the pancreas and the cells have lost the ability to replenish the insulin as and when needed.There is another possibility of insulin resistance or insulin insensitivity,where the insulin receptors on the surface of the cells are too small for the blood sugar to enter through them into the cells.Even though this type of diabetes is considered milder than the above said type, treatment should be taken as soon as it is diagnosed. Oral drugs, diet, exercise and life style modification are the ways to ensure that this type does not affect other organs in the body due to high blood sugar in the blood stream.
  3. Gestational diabetes - This occurs in some women during pregnancy.I will write a separate post on this type of diabetes in the coming week.

Treatment for Diabetes

The treatment for diabetes is

When all these 3 go hand in hand a desirable effect can be achieved.In the forth-coming posts I will discuss about all these three separately.

Most people are under the illusion that diabetes will eventually be cured. Many compare it to fever. Meaning, once the fever is down, the medication can be stopped. Similarly ,if after taking medicines for diabetes the blood glucose is near normal, medicine can be stopped. This is not true either since diabetes can only be controlled and cannot be cured.

Whatever is the cause or type, diabetes is a condition that should not be taken lightly. If not controlled it starts affects all the body parts over a period of time. If the condition is diagnosed and treated early there is no need to worry. In order to avoid complications follow the Physicians advice , take a proper diet, exercise and live with a positive attitude.

Wishing you all a very happy Ugadhi...

See you all tomorrow with a tasty dish fit for diabetics...

Labels: ,