What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease caused by high levels of glucose in blood. Blood glucose is derived from foods we eat, and it is the main source of energy for our bodies. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose get into blood cells for be used for energy. In cases where the body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin is not used well, blood sugar levels rise and cannot get into cells.

The problems associated with high glucose levels in blood include the following;

  1. Eye  problems
  2. Kidney diseases
  3. Stroke
  4. Nerve damage
  5. Heart disease
  6. Nerve damage.

Symptoms of diabetes

Some of the common symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, blurred vision, increased hunger, increased thirst and urination.

Types of diabetes

  1. Type 1 diabetes
  2. Type 2 diabetes

The 2 main types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce sufficient insulin or none at all. The remedy to this is to inject insulin to the body to maintain the levels of blood glucose. Approximately 10% of all the people live with type1 diabetes, most of whom are children and young adults.

What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

The most common symptoms that can be attributed to type 1 diabetes are as follows;

  1. Frequent urination
  2. Tiredness or lack of energy
  3. Constant hunger
  4. Sudden loss of weight
  5. Dry mouth
  6. Abnormal thirst
  7. Bedwetting

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by resistance of the body to insulin. When the body does not positively respond to insulin, glucose level in the blood rise, while the pancreas continues producing insulin. Eventually, pancreas may get exhausted and cannot produce any more.

Approximately 90% of diabetes cases are accounted by type 2 diabetes. It has been diagnosed commonly in older adults. It however catches up with young people due to poor diet, obesity and physical inactivity.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to the ones for type 1 diabetes. These are

  1. Numbness in the hands and feet.
  2. Slow healing wounds
  3. Frequent urination.
  4. Tiredness
  5. Excessive thirst and dry mouth.

How can I prevent diabetes?

There are natural and behavioral preventive measures to observe, to reduce the risks of diabetes. These are;

  1. Reducing meal portions. Eating large portions of food at one meal, has been shown to put people at the risk of high levels of blood sugar.
  2. Reducing sugar and refined carbohydrates in diets.
  3. Avoid smoking. Smoking contributes to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body does not respond positively to insulin.
  4. Carry out physical exercise.
  5. Take diets rich in fiber.
  6. Prefer drinking water over beverages

Living with diabetes

You can carry on with your daily normal life activities, with a little adjustment, once a diagnosis of diabetes is made. Proper medical follow up and adherence to medication ensures long healthy lives for those who are diabetic. You can take the following steps to cope with diabetes and stay healthy.

  1. Eat well
  2. Be active, exercise
  3. Talk to a healthcare team for routine care and tests.
  4. Avoid habits such as smoking and excess alcohol consumption.


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