What is Diabetes? I am sure you all heard this before.
Posted on March 17th, 2018

Dr Hector Perera       London

The scientists have discovered that there are two types of diabetes that is type 1 and type 2.

Definition of Diabetes

Carbohydrates are the nutrient that impact blood sugars the most. If you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your carbohydrate intake so that you may discover which foods work best for your blood sugars. Some people with diabetes benefit from following a consistent carbohydrate diet for which they eat the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time daily. Ask your registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator if you’d benefit from eating a fixed amount of carbohydrates at your meals.

Type 1 diabetes isn’t caused by poor diet or an unhealthy lifestyle. In fact, it isn’t caused by anything that you did or didn’t do, and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. For reasons we don’t yet fully understand, your immune system – which is meant to protect you from viruses and bacteria – attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas, called beta cells.

A hormone produced in the pancreas by the islets of Langerhans, which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood is called insulin. The lack of insulin causes a form of diabetes.  It is a protein responsible for regulating blood glucose levels as part of metabolism. It is possible to have diabetes with only very mild symptoms or without developing any symptoms at all. Such cases can leave some people with diabetes unaware of the condition and undiagnosed. This happens in around half of people with type 2 diabetes.

Insulin is crucial to life. When you eat, insulin moves the energy from your food, called glucose, from your blood into the cells of your body. When the beta cells in your pancreas fail to produce insulin, glucose levels in your blood start to rise and your body can’t function properly. Over time this high level of glucose in the blood may damage nerves and blood vessels and the organs they supply.

A condition known as prediabetes that often leads to type 2 diabetes also produces no symptoms. Type 2 diabetes and its symptoms develop slowly.Type 1 diabetes can go unnoticed but is less likely to do so. Some of its symptoms listed below can come on abruptly and be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or stomach pains.

It is important to see a doctor if there is any suspicion of diabetes or if any of the below signs and symptoms are present – prompt diagnosis and management lowers the likelihood of serious complications.

The most common symptoms are related to hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels), especially the classic symptoms of diabetes: frequent urination and thirst. Fatigue related to dehydration and eating problems can also be related to high blood sugars. This condition affects 400,000 people in the UK, with over 29,000 of them children. Incidence is increasing by about four per cent each year and particularly in children under five, with a five per cent increase each year in this age group over the last 20 years.

What causes type 1 diabetes?

More than 50 genes have been identified that can increase a person’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes, but genes are only part of the cause. Scientists are also currently investigating what environmental factors play a role.

What is known is that: Destruction of insulin-producing beta cells is due to damage inflicted by your immune system. Something triggered your immune system to attack your beta cells. Certain genes put people at a greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes, but are not the only factors involved. While there are no proven environmental triggers, researchers are looking for possible culprits, such as viral infections and particular molecules within our environment and foods.

Is type 1 diabetes hereditary?

Around 90 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes have no family history of the condition. Although other family members may carry the same ‘at risk’ genes, the overall risk of type 1 diabetes for multiple family members is generally low.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy.

The oxidation of glucose represents a major source of metabolic energy for mammalian cells. Because the plasma membrane is impermeable to polar molecules such as glucose, the cellular uptake of this important nutrient is accomplished by special carrier proteins called glucose transporters. These are integral membrane proteins located in the plasma membrane that bind glucose and transfer it across the lipid bilayer. The rate of glucose transport is limited by the number of glucose transporters on the cell surface and the affinity of the transporters for glucose. There are two classes of glucose carriers described in mammalian cells: the Na+-glucose cotransporters (SGLTs) and the facilitative glucose transporters.

The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should.

This causes sugars to build up in the blood.

Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.

Diabetes is predicted by a clear set of symptoms, but it still often goes undiagnosed.

The main 3 diabetes signs are: Increased thirst, Increased need to urinate, increased hunger.

Diabetes is becoming increasingly more common throughout the world, due to increased obesity – which can lead to metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes leading to higher incidences of type 2 diabetes.

Stock Up on Non-Starchy Vegetables

By stocking up on non-starchy vegetables, you’ll increase the volume of food at your meals which can help to reduce total calorie intake. You’ll also increase your fibre intake, which can help to reduce cholesterol and lose weight.

Reduce Your Sodium Intake

A diet that is rich in sodium can increase your risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), which is a risk factor for developing heart disease. Because people with diabetes are at increased risk of developing heart disease, keeping your blood pressure at goal is important. In bread, cakes and biscuits there are plenty of sodium because they add sodium bicarbonate to raise the flour. In Sri Lanka people eat “Appa and dosai” to which they add this sodium bicarbonate as to raise the flour but if they eat within limits, I think it should be alright.

You will want to avoid adding salt to your food as well as increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, two food types that are naturally low in sodium and high in potassium which may have favourable effects blood pressure. A diet type that has worked for many people with diabetes is called the DASH diet.

Make It Fit Your Lifestyle

Nutrient-rich plans that are convenient, delicious, and culturally appropriate will help you make long-lasting changes to achieve and maintain body weight as well as prevent or delay complications of diabetes. Start making changes by setting simple, tangible and realistic goals. For example, if you never eat breakfast because you are in a rush in the morning, start by eating breakfast three days per week. Or if you have to start work early, pack breakfast in the morning and eat it at work.

Learn how to choose healthy choices when dining out or taking in food. And if you are not a chef, but want to start cooking, learn about basic skills and simple recipes. It takes time to make new behaviours.

How many diabetics are there?

According to the IDF, the number of diabetics in the world stands at 365 million people, representing around 8.5% of the global population.

There are approximately 2.9 million diabetic people in the UK according to Diabetes UK, and there’s thought to be around 500,000 people who may be diabetic but currently undiagnosed.

How is diabetes controlled?

Type 1 diabetes is controlled with insulin, either by regular injections of insulin or through wearing an insulin pump which drips insulin into the body through the day.

Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise, although it is common for people with type 2 diabetes to need medication such as tablets or injections to help them to keep their blood sugar levels within the normal range. Your comments are welcomed [email protected]

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