What is Diabetes? Overview - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
With diabetes becoming an epidemic today, it is essential to know exactly what it is, to identify and prevent its onset and progression.
In layman terms, “Diabetes” is the inability of the body to process sugars properly. When we eat or drink, our “pancreas” produces a hormone called “insulin”. Insulin is released into the blood and helps to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Diabetes is a condition where this process does not function correctly.
The reason why diabetes occurs is because no insulin is being produced (often called Type 1 Diabetes) and requires the sufferer to use insulin injections, or insulin is produced but the body becomes resistant to it. This renders the insulin ineffective. This is normally called Type 2 Diabetes and is rapidly becoming more common.
The danger is that while diabetes is not immediately life threatening the long term effects of high blood sugar can be damaging to one's health. Uncontrolled diabetes and prolonged high blood sugar levels can, in later life, cause problems to many organs including the kidneys, eyes, nerves and the heart.
This may sound grim, but controlling blood sugar by a combination of medicine, diet and exercise vastly reduces the long term complications. Recent research shows that 2 in every 100 people have diabetes. Alarmingly half of these people do not even know they have it. Many people have diabetes without being aware of it because someone with diabetes looks no different from anyone else.
How do you find out if you have diabetes? The simplest way to check if you have diabetes is to arrange a blood sugar check with your doctor. A tiny sample of blood, obtained by pricking a finger is checked using a small electronic tester.
A normal blood sugar level is generally between 72 - 126 mg/dl or 4 - 7 mmol/l. If the body is unable to keep the blood sugar level within these limits, then diabetes is diagnosed. Diagnosis of diabetes can occur out of the blue during a routine check-up but more often it follows from the sufferer experiencing the "symptoms" of diabetes. These symptoms can be many or few, mild or severe depending on the individual.
Common symptoms of Diabetes includes loss of weight, thirst and frequent urination. If you have experienced any of these symptoms it does not necessarily follow that you are diabetic however it might be advisable to visit your doctor to be sure.
By knowing exactly what diabetes is – and recognizing the symptoms early on – you can prevent it from ever building up within you. Start today by monitoring your health and daily eating habits. Or as they say, prevention is better than cure!
Check your blood glucose levels with Control D regularly to identify the onset of diabetes, if you experience any of the early symptoms of diabetes.
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