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Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by unregulated glucose control due to insufficient insulin production or insulin resistance. Insulin is a chemical messenger generated by the pancreas that is responsible for glucose regulation in the body. The three common symptoms of diabetes are polyuria, polydipsia, and polyphagia. These are terms that describe excessive urination, thirst, and appetite, respectively.
There are three types of diabetes:
Type I diabetes is the less prevalent type, which is characterized by insufficient insulin production. The predisposing factors are genetics, age, and diseased pancreas. Management of type I diabetes mellitus is via subcutaneous injection of synthetic insulin.
Type II diabetes is the most prevalent type of diabetes globally since it is caused by insulin resistance. The illness is associated with glucose intolerance, obesity, and a sedimentary lifestyle. It is more common in adults, and therapy involves taking glucose-lowering drugs. There is some genetic predisposition to type II diabetes. The likelihood of someone acquiring type II DM increases when a parent or a close family member is diagnosed with it.
Additionally, the Hispanic and African communities are more predisposed to getting type II diabetes than other races. Recent investigation has shown that patients diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome are more prone to developing type II diabetes mellitus.
Gestational diabetes is a transient type of diabetes seen in pregnant women. In some cases, gestational diabetes progresses past the gestational period in about 25% of women. Newborns from women with gestational diabetes are big and obese due to poor maternal glucose control.
Since diabetes is a lifestyle disease, it requires constant medication and blood glucose monitoring. Here are some tips and hacks on how to live with diabetes.
After being diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, it is crucial to sit down with your healthcare provider's team to develop a diabetes self-care plan. The team comprises an endocrinologist, a nutritionist, your clinician, a pharmacist, a diabetes educator, an ophthalmologist, a nurse, and a social worker.
You will need to be shown how to take your medications that are either oral or injectables. Also, there is a need to illustrate how to use a blood glucose meter, popularly known as a glucometer.
The ABCs are a system of tests that illustrate if diabetes mellitus is adequately managed in diabetic patients.
The Hb-A1c is a glycated hemoglobin protein used to monitor drug therapy's efficacy in diabetic patients over a few weeks or months. Also, it illustrates if the patient has been taking their medication or not. Increased levels of Hb- A1c boosts the likelihood of developing diabetes-related complications. Therefore, the recommended Hb A1c levels in diabetic patients are below 7% or below 48mmol/ liter.
A glucometer is used to monitor blood glucose levels. There are numerous types of glucometers found in the market. As a result, one should consult their doctor and discuss the appropriate glucometer suitable for you.
You will need a glucometer; test strips explicitly made for that brand of glucometer and a needle. Most glucometers come with an easy step-by-step user guide manual that illustrates how to use it. However, the recommended steps are:
Averagely it takes 5 to 15 seconds for the results to show. The gadget will produce a beeping sound once the results are out. Most glucometers have a memory of about 3000 entries. However, most physicians recommend that you keep data of your blood glucose readings over a longer period.
Newer versions of the glucometers are Bluetooth-enabled. This recent feature allows the glucometer to send the results directly to your phone for easier record keeping. Also, recent medical inventions have introduced a continuous glucose monitoring technique. CGM is a device that is inserted into a patient's body, preferably under the skin. It monitors blood glucose every few minutes and gives detailed blood glucose data throughout the day and night.
Doctors recommend to check the blood glucose levels two hours before a meal, two hows after a meal, and before you go to bed. The recommended blood glucose levels are:
These limits may vary depending on the patient's health status, age, and diabetic control.
There are two cholesterol types in the body: good cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoproteins, and bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoproteins. Diabetic patients, with the aid of their nutritionist, need to make dietary adjustments to lower the levels of the low-density lipoproteins.
Sometimes doctors may assess the urine for ketones. Increased ketone levels in urine are an indicator of diabetic ketoacidosis, which a complication of diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis presents with malaise, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and troubled breathing. If diabetic ketoacidosis is not managed, it will lead to death.
Most diabetic drugs are time-sensitive and may cause hypoglycemia, which is a life-threatening condition. Hypoglycemia presents with excessive hunger, irritability, and confusion. Doctors advise diabetic patients always to carry a sweet or glucose to take if they start presenting with hypoglycemic symptoms.
Diabetic patients should avoid eating foods containing saturated fats, salts, and trans fats. Instead, they should incorporate green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and white meat into their diet. Nutritionist recommends taking a low-carbohydrates, high fiber, and protein diet. Sizing and taking the right proportions is an excellent way to manage your diabetes. Minimize drinking alcohol and smoking as this may exacerbate diabetes leading to complications.
Diabetic patients should try to become more physically active. Taking a 30-minute walk, run, or swim facilitates weight loss.
Managing diabetes can be quite stressful. It would help if you joined other diabetic patients and form support groups for mental and psychological support.
Diabetes mellitus can cause a variety of complications that may affect each system in the body. It is critical to visit the doctor frequently in case you notice changes in your body. Eating healthy, exercising, and frequent lab testing helps minimize and promote early detection of some reversible complications. Doctors advise diabetic patients to visit an ophthalmologist at least twice per year to get their eyes checked as they may develop diabetic retinopathy that causes loss of vision.
Conclusively, diabetes mellitus is a lifestyle disease that requires medicine and lifestyle adjustments in its management. Frequent blood glucose monitoring is vital in assessing the efficacy of therapy and detecting complications early.
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