Do you know this life-threatening issue has been on the rise through the years?
During the days of our forefathers, the problem was hardly known. In 2013, it was estimated, according to the Williams textbook of endocrinology, that over 382 million people worldwide had Diabetes!
If you’re not affected by this malady, let me tell you why you shouldn’t stop reading me.
90% of Diabetic cases is linked to the consumption of fast foods, sweet drinks & calorie-rich snacks.
It was reported by researchers from Imperial College London, that drinking just one can of (non-diet) soda per day raises the risk of developing Diabetes by 22%!
In addition, Diabetes, when poorly managed can bring up a myriad of issues ranging from eye infections to heart, skin and foot diseases.
So, What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a health condition where the human body fails to properly absorb & utilise glucose, gotten from digested food. This eventually increases the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood [Hyperglycemia].
This problem is either due to the absence of an important hormone, Insulin, an insufficient amount of it OR increased resistance to the hormone, by the body cells.
The term “Diabetes” is a shortened version of the full name Diabetes Mellitus, which is our focus in this article.
Diabetes means siphon (to pass through) and Mellitus means honeyed or sweet. This is because Diabetes is characterized by excess sugar in the blood & urine.
You may have heard of Type 1, Type 2 forms of Diabetes before. There are actually 3 forms of Diabetes that affect people.
This type of Diabetes is associated with pregnancy and it’s more likely to happen to women with poor eating habits & a sedentary lifestyle, prior to pregnancy.
Due to the growing (fetus) baby, which demands “mommy” food, some women develop high levels of blood glucose, which exceeds the amount of insulin they normally make.
*Type 1 Diabetes
This type of Diabetes is usually referred to as insulin-dependent or early-onset Diabetes. It often occurs below the age of 40 or during childhood. You should note that it accounts for 10% of all diabetic cases which is nowhere as common as Type 2.
In this case, there is complete lack of Insulin in the body which means the patient must take insulin injections for the rest of their lives! The cause is genetic, wherein the person’s immunity gradually destroys a part of the “pancreas”, the organ that makes insulin.
*Type 2 Diabetes
This type of Diabetes is referred to as maturity-onset Diabetes because it is prevalent in older people. However, young people now suffer from it, due to the availability of high-calorie but malnourished foods. Approximately 90% of Diabetic cases are Type 2.
In Type 2 diabetes, there is either insufficient insulin made by the pancreas OR the body cells have become resistant to the hormone. Overweight or obese people are more likely to be diabetic because of their poor habits around their diet & lifestyle.
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How Will I Know The Signs Of Diabetes?
Before moving on, I want to debunk one of the myths about Diabetes. Being overweight or obese doesn’t mean you’ll be diabetic. It only increases the risk. Diabetes affect slim people too!
You should also note that 50% of people with Diabetes have mild or no obvious symptoms which makes it VITAL to check yourself early enough.
There are 3 basic symptoms (3Ps) of Diabetes that will give you a rough hint right in your home. However, you may have to go to a trusted hospital to back up your assumptions with standard, blood-urine tests to check the level of blood glucose in you.
PolyDipsia (Increased Thirst)
Do you frequently visit the fridge to gulp a bottle of water? Excessive thirst is a rough sign that you may be Diabetic. High blood sugar levels, trigger a part of your brain, regarded as the “Thirst Centre”, which increases your desire to drink water!
PolyPhagia (Increased Hunger)
Do you have a voracious appetite? Does it seem like no matter how much you eat, you still don’t add weight? Do you think you’re losing weight unnecessarily?
In Diabetics, since Insulin isn’t present to enable the cells absorb glucose, the body thinks it’s starving so increases food appetite. The body will also use up fat reserves to make up for the energy not gotten from food!
PolyUria (Increased Urination)
Do you visit the toilet more often than usual? Your body responds to high glucose by excreting the excess through your urine. Interestingly, increased urination leads to increased thirst!
In addition, it has been said that when Diabetics urinate on the floor, ants do gather around the “sugary” urine. I’m yet to confirm this but do observe!
Another peculiar symptom among Diabetics is extreme tiredness due to lack of absorbed glucose for energy production. Observe the picture above for other symptoms.