WHAT IS DIABETES?
It is a chronic disease that affects over 30million people worldwide. Simply put, People with diabetes are unable to utilize the glucose in their diet for energy. The glucose accumulates in their blood stream and can damage the heart, kidney, eyes and nerves. If left untreated, its complications are quite devastating. It is usually irreversible and although patients live a reasonably normal lifestyle, these late complications may result in reduced life expectancy and considerable uptake of health resources.
Much of its care is “Self-Managed”, meaning if you have this condition, you owe it to yourself to take day-to-day responsibility for your own care.
TYPES OF DIABETES
A. Type I (also called juvenile onset or insulin dependent DM). It is an auto immune disease. This means your immune system which fights off infection for you has gone hay wire and is destroying your insulin producing cells. Without insulin, your body can’t use the sugar and fat broken down from food you eat. People with Type I Diabetes depend on external intake of insulin to live.
· Most common in children.
· Often comes on suddenly and severely with thirst, frequent urination, weight
loss which develops and worsens within weeks.( despite a good appetite and regular eating)
· Usually no known family history.
· No major risk factor, but chances are higher in those with a family history.
· Insulin injection is required to control it.
· Dry mouth weakness, tiredness and blurry vision.
B. TYPE II (also called Non Insulin dependent DM or adult onset). It defers from type I in that the body makes some insulin but not enough and the body can’t make use of the small amount produced.
CHARACTERISTICS / SYMPTOMS
· Most common in adults
· Cuts or sore throat that heals slowly.
· Itchy skin and yeast infections, dry mouth and leg pains.
· Slow onset with thirst, frequent urination, weight loss which worsens over weeks or months.
· Usually runs in families.
C. GESTATIONAL DIABETES( PREGNANCY INDUCED)
3% to 5% of all pregnant women get this during mid-pregnancy and it usually ends when the baby is born. However some women go on to develop type II DM late on in life. It does not cause birth defects, but the babies are usually larger than normal and may suffer low blood sugar immediately after birth. Treatment is often diet modification.
WHAT PUTS YOU AT RISK?
· Family history.
· Over weight baby (birth weight greater than 4kg) or a history of gestational DM)
· High blood pressure greater than 140/90mmhg.
· Abnormal blood sugar level in a previous testing.
CHECKING YOURSELF FOR DIABETES
Fasting blood sugar is the most common diagnostic test carried out. This is carried out by taking a blood sample from an individual who has not eaten anything for a minimum of 8 hours (i.e. first thing in the morning after an overnight fast where the last meal was before 9pm).
Normal levels are between 70-110mg/dl. So figures above this recorded on two different occasions are diagnostic of DM.
· Leading cause of adult blindness.
· End stage kidney disease.
· Limb amputations as a result of nerve disease.
· Coronary heart disease and stroke.
· 65% of diabetics are also hypertensive.
Preventing or delaying its onset is often dependent on diet modification (eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as our regular diet is more of the class which puts us at risk). This should be backed up with adequate exercise to prevent obesity.
Early detection is necessary to prevent its devastating late complications.
Dr Ibare-Jones Eyitope