What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body cannot metabolize sugar due to either little or no production of insulin (Type 1) or because of insulin resistance (Type 2).
Approximately 29.1 million or 9.3% of the U.S. Population suffer from diabetes. Of the two types, type 2 is the most common. The cost of diagnosed diabetes in the US in 2012 was around $245 Billion, of which $176 Billion was from direct medical costs and $69 Billion in reduced productivity.
Patients suffering from Type 2 Diabetes can’t use insulin properly, which is known as insulin resistance. At first the body produces more insulin in order to compensate, but as time progresses, the pancreas cannot keep up with the production levels it needs to keep the blood glucose levels normal.
The complications that arise from diabetes are many.
- Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar level)
- Coronary Vascular Disease
- Heart attack
- Blindness and Eye Problems
- Kidney Disease or Kidney Failure
There are many myths about diabetes, but it’s very important for patients to understand that information is key in this disease. For example, if you are overweight or obese, its only a matter of time before you develop diabetes, which is not entirely true, because even though being overweight or obese is a factor, there are also many other factors; such as genetics, ethnicity and age. There are many diabetic patients that are within a normal range of body mass index. Another myth is that fruit is a healthy food, so therefore a diabetic patient can have as much as they wish, because they contain plenty of vitamins and minerals; but also contain carbohydrates. So, it’s important to speak with a nutritionist to make sure they talk about the amount, frequency and what types of fruits are ok for patients with diabetes.
Patients are encouraged to monitor their blood sugar at home and keeping a log of the results is very important for when they see their local doctor and determine if the treatment is being effective or if there needs to be adjustments made to medications.
Treatments for diabetes range from a wide spectrum. First and foremost Diet and exercise are key factor for treatment. Lowering a patients weight can help insulin metabolize glucose better. Therefore reducing the intake of sugar and lowering a patients weight can help with maintaining a lower level of blood glucose.
Oral medications range from a wide variety of classes, but most used oral medications are Sulfonylureas (Glibenclamide), Biguanides (Metformin), which can be combined with one another or with any other oral hypoglycemic medication even insulin.
Patient that start using insulin are chosen because of the following factors:
How long have they had diabetes?
How high is the blood glucose level?
The fact that patients start taking insulin doesn’t mean that their treatment has failed. Eventually, most patients with diabetes will use insulin at one point or another.
Diabetes is a very serious medical condition, affecting a big percentage of the worlds population. It’s very important nowadays to have a healthy lifestyle, choosing meals wisely, keeping active with 30 minutes a day of exercise. If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your local physician to have a talk about diabetes.