In 2017, the total number of cases of diabetes diagnosed in India among adults was 72,946,400. With the reported cases of obesity increasing in India day by day, one can safely say that obesity’s silent twin, diabetes is growing along with it. India has made a host of developmental strides within the last few decades. Unfortunately, the development in urban parts of India has come with a price. Due to the fast lifestyle, urban Indians are now exposed to a variety of food, mostly unhealthy and junk food that they weren’t used to in their childhoods. This has resulted in rising cases of diabetes among adults in India. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, treatments, and diagnosis of the diabetes in adults.
What is Diabetes in Adults?
When you hear the term diabetes in adults, it means an adult who has been diagnosed with a recently developed case of diabetes. While Type 1 diabetes is also known as ‘juvenile diabetes’ since it is generally known to be a condition that occurs among children and teenagers, recent reports show that adults can also be diagnosed with this strain. This is because someone with the genetic predisposition towards this variant may not exhibit symptoms until their adulthood. Conversely, another form of diabetes, known as Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults is a strain of Type 1 diabetes which occurs due to a faulty autoimmune response. In this form of diabetes, your body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells as it thinks that they are harmful, foreign bodies.
Similarly, Type 2 diabetes, which is caused due to an unhealthy lifestyle, can also be diagnosed in children and adults, at any given time.
Diabetes in Adults: Symptoms
Diabetes is quite insidious as it often presents with subtle symptoms that the average patient may not recognize as a problem. For instance, fatigue is often confused with exhaustion at the end of a long day at work. As a consequence, this symptom is ignored until the disease begins to exhibit bigger signs like fainting. As diabetes in adults is a growing problem, it is important to know some of its key symptoms. The symptoms of diabetes in adults can range from:
- Frequent urination (which may or may not lead to diabetes bedwetting in adults)
- Increased thirst
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Wounds that heal very slowly
- Blurred vision
- Breath with a fruity or acetone odour
- Skin infections
- Dark skin patches in creases
- Reduced feeling in feet and hands
Are Young Adults More Susceptible to Diabetes?
Certain lifestyle choices are risk factors when it comes to diabetes. Young adults are often in the phase of life where they must work hard. With high competition in any field of work, most young adults are driven to work late hours in the office. As a result, they become more prone to eating out (or ordering in) and to not exercise as frequently as they should. As young adults are also the most prone to indulging in fast food due to their economical prices, they are more susceptible to developing diabetes.
A few risk factors of diabetes that young adults should be aware of are:
- High blood pressure (which is a condition that is prevalent among young adults due to high stress)
- Exercising less than thrice in a week
- Being overweight
- High cholesterol (junk food often contributes to one’s lipid levels, particularly HDL cholesterol)
- History of heart disease
How is Diabetes in Adults Diagnosed?
Diabetes in adults is diagnosed through blood tests. The following results indicate that the patient has diabetes:
As diabetes in adults is diagnosed primarily through blood tests, it is essential to get regular blood tests done in order to diagnose the problem before it worsens. Uncontrolled diabetes in adults can lead to a host of complications including:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart problems
- Diabetic neuropathy
- severe infections in the feet that can lead to muscle death and even amputation
Uncontrolled diabetes in adults can also lead to other problems such as skin diseases (like fungal and bacterial infections) and blindness due to nerve damage.
How is Diabetes Treated?
Diabetes in adults is managed through a series of medications that are designed to keep the insulin at an optimum level. These can include oral tablets, insulin injections, and other forms of medication, based on the doctor’s prescription and the individual’s medical history.
As diabetes does not have a cure, diabetes care becomes a huge part of the patient’s life. In order to manage the disease, patients must:
- Eat a diabetes friendly diet (an example of such diets is the Keto diet)
- Lose at least 10-15 kgs of weight (it can make a huge difference to how strongly the disease affects your body)
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Stay away from sugary foods and drinks
Are There Any Preventive Methods to Keep Diabetes at Bay?
Diabetes is a disease that can be prevented. Whether you have been diagnosed with prediabetes (which is your body’s way of warning you that you will develop full-blown diabetes soon) or are just concerned about your health, you can take the following steps in order to prevent it from developing. These are:
- Be aware of the amount of junk food you consume every day and start by cutting down on it.
- Replace random snacks with healthier options so that you do not harm your body.
- Cut down on carbs and sugar (allow yourself a specific day or two in a week to indulge in these if you love certain foods, but ensure your overall consumption of these is on the lesser side)
- Exercise for a minimum of 15 minutes a day.
- Cut down on smoking and drinking.
- If you are overweight, then you must try to lose at least 10-15 kilos in order to be out of the danger zone.
- Maintain a stress-free lifestyle or outlook.
Diabetes in adults is quite serious and this is a disease that will stay with you for life. Thus, it is better to take the right steps now and prevent it from occurring, rather than spending the rest of your life managing it. Even though the risk of diabetes increases after you reach 45 years of age, young adults should be more mindful of what they eat and how they treat their bodies.