It is estimated that around 10% of the population of the United States of America suffer from diabetes mellitus, generally just referred to as diabetes, but it should not be confused with diabetes insipidus. Diabetes can be a life-threatening or very debilitating condition but it is also completely manageable such that people living with diabetes can have long and healthy lives. The important thing with diabetes is picking it up quickly by watching out for the symptoms and reducing risk factors for developing it. It is also important for those who have diabetes to manage it correctly so that it doesn’t negatively affect their life. There are a number of different choices for the management of diabetes which definitively include pharmaceutical intervention but also a number of natural health choices like modifying one’s diet. Authority Reports has more about this topic of healthy eating and getting enough nutrients and the right nutrients to improve your health.
What Exactly Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that is characterized by being unable to absorb glucose from the blood to supply the body’s energy needs. There are generally two ways this can occur. The first is that there is a destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas which are responsible for making the hormone insulin. Insulin basically acts like a key that unlocks the gates in the body’s cells to let the glucose in. If the body doesn’t produce insulin then the glucose stays at very high levels in the blood that can actually cause harm. At the same time, the body uses other methods of producing energy which results in the formation of some toxic by-products.
The other way this can happen is that the “gates” on the cells no longer respond to insulin and the same thing happens.
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Diabetes?
Diabetes is what medical professionals and scientists refer to as a multifactorial condition. This means that there are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes. Scientists have known for a very long time that there is a genetic link to diabetes which means if you have a family history then your risk is increased. If you have a history of pancreatic disease, then there is also a greater chance of developing diabetes. These factors are related to type 1 diabetes which is due to the destruction of the pancreas.
The more common risk factors, which are associated with type 2 diabetes, which is more insulin resistance, include:
- Sedentary lifestyle (very little exercise)
- Being older than 45
There is also a temporary form of diabetes related to being pregnant known as gestational diabetes.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?
Diabetes is diagnosed by checking blood glucose levels over a period of time. There is a fancy way that doctors do this now which is by measuring the amount of glucose in your hemoglobin. This measurement shows the average blood sugar level for the past 3 months before the test is taken. A reading of between 5.7 and 6.4 is considered prediabetes and a reading of 6.5 or higher on two different tests is diagnostic of diabetes.
The consideration for being tested is generally based on a person’s symptoms. These include:
- Frequent thirst and urination
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises
- Ketones in the urine
How Is Diabetes Managed?
The management of diabetes is very simple but does require dedication. The first line of treatment is to control the diet quite strictly by avoiding sugar and highly processed carbohydrates. A good exercise plan also helps to control glucose levels without any pharmaceutical intervention.
If diabetes can’t be controlled in this way then the person is given an insulin injection or pills that control glucose uptake. Throughout the process, constant monitoring of blood sugar is needed. There is also research that is looking at a pancreas transplant as a potential treatment for diabetes.
Some individuals have been cured of type 2 diabetes by simply controlling the risk factors that lead them to develop the disease.
We know a lot more about diabetes today then we did just a few years ago. Today it is no longer a scary and untreatable disease. Many diabetic people go on to live very long and fulfilling lives. The important thing for everyone is to manage their risk factors, and if they develop diabetes, to stick to the management plan to avoid complications.