Diabetes is often called ‘the silent killer’. You never know when it comes on,it
preys on the body and can take away one’s limbs, affect the eyes and eat away one’s organs.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes – or diabetes mellitus in medical terms – is a disorder caused by insufficient or no production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas. Insulin is responsible for the absorption of glucose into cells for their energy needs and into the liver and fat cells for storage.If there is deficiency of insulin, levels of glucose in the blood stream become abnormally high, causing unquenchable thirst and the tendency to urinate frequently.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, the more severe form, usually first appears in people under the age of 35 and most commonly between the ages of 10 and 15. It develops rapidly. The insulin secreting cells in the pancreas are destroyed probably as a result of an immune response after a viral infection, and insulin production ceases almost completely. Without regular injections of insulin,the sufferer can lapse into a coma. Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong illness. Patients with Type 1 diabetes have an increased chance of developing cardio-vascular disease, suffer loss of vision and loss of limbs.
The other type, Type 2 diabetes
, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is usually of gradual onset and develops mainly in people over 40. In many cases it is discovered only during a routine medical examination. Not enough insulin is produced for the body’s needs, specially when the person is over-weight. Often the body is resistant to the effects of insulin.In most cases insulin replacement injections are not needed.Instead, a combination of dietary measures,weight reduction and oral medicines controls the condition.
Diabetes tends to run in families. However,of those who inherit the genes responsible for the insulin-dependent
form, only a small proportion eventually develops the disease. In these cases, the disorder is thought to be the delayed result of a viral infection that damaged the pancreas several years earlier. In the case of non-insulin-dependent diabetes, a greater proportion of the people who are pre-disposed by heredity actually go on to develop the disease.
The aims of the treatment are to prolong life, relieve symptoms and prevent longterm complications. Success depends on keeping the level blood glucose as near normal as possible through maintenance of normal weight, regular physical activity, careful dietary management and, if necessary, injections of insulin.
In people with insulin-dependent diabetes, treatment consists of regular self-injections–between one and four times a day – with insulin. In addition, the person must follow a diet in which carbohydrate intake is regulated and spread out over the day. By this means,marked fluctuations in the glucose levels in the blood can be avoided.
In non-insulin-dependent diabetes, because the pancreas does produce some insulin, the disorder can often be controlled by dietary means (regulating the carbohydrate intake with meals spaced out over the day). This not only lowers the blood glucose level but also reduces weight.If diet fails to lower the glucose level sufficiently,oral tablets that stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin may be prescribed, although these are ineffective unless dietary restrictions are observed.
All people with diabetes need regular advice from their doctors so that any complications can be detected and treated at any early stage. Diabetics should wear or carry information identifying them as diabetics in case of an emergency.
There is no cure for diabetes
but it can be successfully managed with careful medical monitoring which minimizes complications With modern treatment and sensible self-monitoring,diabetics can look forward to a normal,healthy and active life.