Diabetes

Diabetes is caused due to high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. A patient’s diet and lifestyle play a vital role in preventing diabetes.

Host: 
Dr. Devi Shetty
Panellists: 
Dr. Satish Kumar, Dr. Prem Kumar Patidhar

Understanding Diabetes

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What are the types of diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes - Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes, is found to occur predominantly among kids. This is due to the absence of insulin, a hormone that breaks down sugar or glucose into energy. Type 2 diabetes occurs in older people belonging to the 20-30 year mark.

What are the factors causing diabetes?

The doctors at Narayana Health mentioned that a patient’s diet and lifestyle play a vital role in preventing diabetes. Another leading factor is when they develop Acanthosis Nigricans - black lines behind the back of the neck. Apparently, around 50% of heart patients, who undergo cardiac bypass surgeries, are diabetic in nature. Hence, patients who follow a well-balanced diet, coupled with plenty of exercises, are at an advantage of leading a healthier life. The diabetic experts at Narayana Health advice patients to avoid sweets and food items having a high value of sugar.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Signs such as an increase in thirst, frequent urination, a constant feeling of tiredness, fungal infections that take too long to heal and a family history of diabetes are the common signs of this disease.

What are the treatment options for diabetes?

For type 1, insulin injections are mandatorily recommended while for type 2, it depends on the patient’s sugar level, age, genetic factors and lifestyle habits. An alternate option would either be the intake of oral medication or the use of an insulin pump. Dr. Prem mentioned that an excessive intake of alcohol can damage the pancreas and cause pancreatic diabetes. He also said that it’s best to eat a satisfying meal after consuming alcohol, in order to avoid going into hypoglycaemia.

What is hypoglycaemia?

This brings us to the topic most related to diabetes - hypoglycaemia or hypo. Too much insulin or too little food can spark a hypo. Symptoms of hypo include sweating, hand tremors, anxiety, palpitations, headache, blurring of vision, emotional liability and an increase in hunger. In order to get out of hypo, the patient is advised a small snack such as biscuits, fruit juice, and a glass of milk, fruit, cereal bar or light yoghurt; all these can help stabilize and maintain blood glucose levels.