Key facts about Diabetes
- Studies in 2014 has stated, the number of people suffering from diabetes has increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014
- Rate of prevalence of diabetes among the adult population has increased to 8.5% from 4.7% in 2014.
- The rise of cases has more rapidly happened in middle-and low-income countries.
- Diabetes leads to major complication like kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, lower limb amputation.
- 6million deaths directly happened due to diabetes in 2016. Also 2.2million deaths due to high blood glucose in 2012
- Patients below the age of 70years are reported to have high blood glucose.
- Diabetes cannot be cured. It can be managed with proper diet, regular exercise/physical activity, maintaining health body weight, regular screening and prompt medications.
What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs due to presence of increased glucose in the blood. Glucose is the main source of energy which we get from the food we consume. The body secretes insulin from the pancreas, which help the glucose to greak down and use for energy. When the body fails to make enough insulin or the secreted insulin is not used properly the sugar remains in the blood. It will not be assimilated to the cells.
Over time, the increased level of glucose in the blood can lead to health issues. People diagnosed with diabetes are unable to use the glucose in blood either because they lack insulin in the body or the blood cells develop resistance to the secreted insulin. Diabetes has no cure but it can be managed through diet, exercise and medications.
Types of diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. In cases of Type 1 diabetes, the body does not secrete insulin to break down the glucose in the blood. The immune system fights and destroys the cells in the pancreas which secrete insulin. Although Type 1 can appear at any age, it is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. In some people, genes play a major role.
This category is dependent on daily dose of insulin for their survival.
Type 2 diabetes
In people with type 2 diabetes, body does not make use of the insulin secreted. This type 2 diabetes is more seen in middle-aged, older adults and is the most common type of diabetes seen in the society.
Gestational diabetes occurs in case of pregnant women and it seizes when baby is born. However, it is more likely to get type 2 diabetes, if gestational diabetes is experienced during pregnancy. The placenta secretes hormones that blocks insulin and this leads to gestational diabetes.
Prediabetes is a stage where the blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough to tag as type 2 diabetes.
Each type of diabetes presents with unique symptoms. The treatment may vary according to the cause.
This is a very rare condition. Monogenic diabetes happens due to mutation or changes that happen in single genes.
Neonatal diabetes mellitus (NDM)
Neonatal diabetes mellitus is a monogenic form of diabetes that occurs in the initial months of neonates ie from 6th to 12 months of life. This is a very condition. Infants diagnosed with NDM do not secrete enough insulin to the blood stream, which leads to increased level of glucose in the blood. Studies proved that specific genes and their mutation can be a lead cause for NDM. Signs of NDM are frequent urination which leads to dehydration, deep or rapid breathing. NDM is diagnosed by observing the elevated glucose levels in blood.
What are the causes of diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system of the body attacks the beta cells of pancreas there by blocks secretion of insulin. In some cases variation in the genes can also be a factor to cause Type 1 DM.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is caused due to several factors like unhealthy lifestyle, genes etc.
- Overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity
A physically inactive person, obese people can easily get type 2 diabetes. Over weight leads to insulin resistance and happens commonly in type 2 diabetes.
- Insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is commonly seen in case of type 2 diabetic patients. This is a condition where the muscles, liver and fat cells do not use the insulin well. Due to this the blood needs more insulin to help glucose enter various cells of the body. Pancreas work actively for the insulin production but towards the end, the production decreases and the glucose level remains high in the blood.
- Genes and Hereditary
If the disease tends to run in families, it’s more likely to affect the future generations also. Genes can also risk type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops during the time of pregnancy. These are caused due to the rapid hormonal changes that mother undergo during the period. Insulin resistance can also be leading cause for the same. Over weight can also lead to gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
- The most common symptoms of diabetes are:
- Increased thirst and frequent micturition
- Increased hunger
- Feeling tired without doing any work
- Blurred vision
- Sometimes numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty in healing wounds or sores
Generally, the symptoms of type 1 diabetes can start quickly, mostly within a week. Symptoms of type 2 develop very slowly. The clinical features can show up even after several years and can occur very mildly. Most of the cases do not exhibit any symptoms. Sometimes it goes to an extend that patient realizes the issue when it affects other organs in the body.
Tests for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and Prediabetes
- Glycated heamoglobin (HbA1C) – this test need not be done empty stomach. It helps to measure the percentage of blood sugar attached to theh heamoglobin. The result gives an idea about the average sugar level in the blood for past two to threee months. Normal range: <5.7%
- Random Blood sugar – the blood sample can be given at any time of the day after 2 hours of food intake. Normal range: 180g/dl after 2 hours of food., 80mg/dl to 130mg/dl before having food.
- Fasting blood sugar – the blood sample should be collected at empty stomach. Normal range: <100mg/dl. Sugar level between 100mg/dl to 125mg/dl is considered as prediabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test. in this test patient needs to fast overnight and the fasting blood sugar level is tested. Then the patient is asked to take sugary liquid and the blood sugar levels are measured periodically for 2 hours. Normal range: <140mg/dl
- In case of gestational diabetes doctor advises to take initial glucose challenge tests and follow up glucose tolerance testing. Normal range: For the three-hour test, FBS:<95mg/dl, one hour after drinking sugary liquid: <180mg/dl.
Diabetes in Ayurveda
Diabetes is a condition which hinders the body’s capability to respond to insulin that helps in utilizing the glucose for the body. Diabetes cannot be treated but can be managed with special care.
Ayurveda refers diabetes as madhumeha. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which involves the excess dosha kapha and it diminishes the agni (digestive fire). This tends to elevate the blood sugar. Ayurveda has helped well to manage the cases of type 2 diabetes.
Reviewing the current life style of people, the corrections in diet and lifestyle, mode of food preparations, taking proper diet on time, and mode of recreational activities can help to maintain the disease. Inculcating yoga practices like Surya namaskara, pranayama etc. can helps to maintain the equilibrium of doshas in the body.
Treatments suggested in Ayurveda:
- Udwarthana (dry powder massage)
- Snehapana (intake if ghee to lubricate the body )
- Abhyanga (warm oil massage)
- Virechana (induced purgation)
- Vamana (induced vomiting)
- Yoga vasti (medicated enema)
- Shirodhara (pouring medicated oil over the forehead)
- Ayurvedic medications
Home Remedies for Diabetes
In fact Ayurveda also suggests, few home remedies for diabetic management.
- To control high blood sugar – Mix Guduchi, Katuki, Punarnava. Consume this thrice everyday with warm water.
- Turmeric should be taken with warm water or with the diet
- Since Kapha is the main dosha involved, kapha pacifying diets shoule be taken. Sweets, carbohydrates, dairy products should be strictly avoided
- Include more fresh vegetables and bitter herbs.
- To regulate blood sugar level, take half spoon ground bay leaf, mix with turmeric and one table spoon of aloe vera and consume before lunch and dinner.
- Methi seeds soaked overnight in water can be used for drinking next day morning.
- Consuming ginger tea helps to keep digestion intact. It is helps to reduce the excess kapha in the body.
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If you are a diabetic, it is wise to visit a certified Ayurvedic expert who can help you deal with the condition.