What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes is a state of abnormally high blood sugar levels, resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both.
Fact about diabetes
- Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the world.
- About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, particularly in low-and middle-income countries.
- There is a globally agreed target to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025.
Risk factor for diabetes
- Diabetes is not caused by a single factor.
- If you have a family history of diabetes, you may be at higher risk.
- Environmental factors consist of lifestyle issues, such as the harmful use of alcohol, smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and overweight/obesity.
- A combination of genetic and unhealthy lifestyle factors all contribute to diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes
- Diabetes is usually diagnosed without any symptoms.
- Three major symptoms: frequent urination, increased thirst and fluid intake, increased appetite.
- General symptoms: weight loss, fatigue, feeling drowsy after eating.
- Other symptoms: blurred vision, itching sensation in the genital area, tongue inflammation, tingling sensation in hands and feet, skin infection.
- Not all patients with diabetes experience the same symptoms. Most people are diagnosed through health check-ups and have no symptoms
Diagnostic criteria of diabetes
- Diabetes is diagnosed through blood tests.
- Diabetes can be diagnosed when fasting blood sugar level is 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or greater in repetitive tests, or if glycated hemoglobin level, which represents the average blood sugar level in the past 2–3 months, is 6.5% or greater.
Importance of diabetes management: preventing complication
If you find out that your blood sugar level is high, visit a doctor for treatment as soon as possible. Even if you do not have any symptoms, damage to organs is already progressing, which can eventually increase mortality.
Management of diabetes
- Diabetes is commonly referred to as a “lifestyle disease”.
- You cannot alter your genes, however, you can control your blood sugar levels and prevent complications by changing your lifestyle, including losing weight, getting regular exercise, eating less, quitting smoking, and relieving stress.
- Diabetes can be managed by eating healthy and exercising regularly in combination with medical treatment.
Healthy eating habit for diabetes patient
- Eat balanced meals.
- Eat a reasonable amount of calories.
- Eat regularly at the right time (do not skip meals to keep your blood sugar level down).
- Eat slowly
Physical activities for patients with diabetes
It is recommended to start with low intensity, short-duration workouts.
- Gradually increasing intensity and duration of exercise are important. Be careful if you already have complications of diabetes.
- Exercising reduces blood sugar levels, burns calories, and helps prevent complications of diabetes.
- Regular physical activity also helps relieve stress and has a positive effect on mental health.
- Do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for more than 150 minutes per week.
- Exercise at least three times per week, and do not rest for more than two consecutive days.
- Muscle strengthening exercises should be done together 2–4 times per week if there are no other contraindications.
Medical treatment for diabetes
There are many types of diabetes medication, all of which differ in their effect and nature.
Therefore, direct any questions about your medication to your doctor.
- Patients who are identified as in need of initiation of insulin therapy for long term therapy usually need to be referred to the hospital outpatient department for initiation of insulin, but then can be followed in the health centre.
- Always remember that there is a risk of hypoglycemia if you delay your mealtime, or eat less than usual.
- It is important that you eat regularly, maintain regular physical activity, and take medications as prescribed.
- If you visit other doctors, always inform them that you are taking diabetes medication.
- You can visit a doctor at CareClick