All You Need to Know To Efficiently Manage Diabetes

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There are a number of myths about diabetes that may hinder proper health management. To manage diabetes effectively, it is necessary to bust the myths surrounding the disease and address common questions patients and caregivers may have.

All You Need to Know To Efficiently Manage Diabetes

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to clear all your doubts.

1. Is diabetes mellitus curable?

No, diabetes mellitus is not curable but it is controllable. One can control diabetes by following a certain lifestyle, nutrition, participating in physical activities, and taking medication if needed. Weight management plays an important role in controlling Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

2. Why is diabetes so common?

Diabetes mellitus is a lifestyle disorder that has become an epidemic due to our sedentary lifestyle, consumption of processed/junk foods, and lack of exercise. The urban population is largely affected by this disorder. Besides this, there are other risk factors of diabetes like hereditary, obesity, ethnicity, glucose intolerance, history of gestational diabetes, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), etc.

3. Can stress induce diabetes?

Yes, stress can induce metabolic distress and sleep disorder, which can lead to diabetes in the long run.

4. People of which ethnicity are likely to be more affected by diabetes?

Asians are highly vulnerable to diabetes. Besides Asians, African American, Hispanic and Native Americans (Alaska Natives and American Indians), Pacific Islanders are also prone to this metabolic disorder.

5. What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The common symptoms of diabetes are excessive hunger (Polyphagia), and excessive thirst (Polydipsia) and frequent urination (Polyurea), these are cardinal symptoms and fatigue, delay in wound recovery, blurry vision, etc. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the symptoms appear very quickly. In Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms develop gradually and the patient is more likely to ignore any such changes.

6. What is the difference between Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes/juvenile diabetes/Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus develops in young age due to lack of production by pancreas. As a result, very little or no insulin is secreted. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes is an adult-onset diabetes. This means that it develops later in life. In Type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin from the pancreas but is ineffective Insulin due to Insulin Resistance.

7. Is it possible for a person to have no symptoms of diabetes?

One or two above-mentioned symptoms may be absent or overlooked/ignored by patients. One may or may not show all the symptoms of diabetes in the early stages of Type 2 diabetes. The symptoms develop gradually in this type of diabetes. That is why regular blood sugar tests are recommended annually and after every three months for those with a family history of diabetes mellitus. Sometime diabetes may be detected after routine or pre-operative check-up.

8. How can a diabetic individual lead a normal life?

This is all about the management of diabetes. Follow your doctor’s advice strictly to control blood sugar levels. One can lead a healthy life with certain lifestyle modifications, diet, physical activity, and medicines. You must monitor blood glucose regularly and adhere to your doctor’s prescription.

9. Is Type 1 diabetes affected by lifestyle changes?

No, this disorder is not affected much by life style changes. As its name – Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus – indicates, insulin is needed to manage it.

10. Does eating too much sugar cause diabetes?

This is a myth. Simply eating sugar does not cause diabetes. Intake of sugary drinks, carbonated soft drinks, processed and high-carbohydrate containing food make a person overweight. These increase calories and raise blood glucose level (hyperglycemia). Due to genetic factors, sedentary lifestyle and slow metabolism, glucose metabolism is impaired, which can lead to Diabetes.

11. Do people with diabetes lose their vision?

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness (due to Diabetic Retinopathy), only if left unattended/untreated for a long time.

You can control the loss of vision by:

  1. Tight control of blood glucose
  2. Staying physically active
  3. Maintaining ideal body weight

12. Are people with Diabetes not allowed to have fruits?

Fruits contain sugar in the form of fructose, which is an isomer of glucose. This may raise blood glucose levels. Not all fruits stimulate blood glucose levels. Initially, if the doctor finds an abnormal glucose level in your blood, he would recommend you to consume certain fruits. Gradually, if the blood glucose falls after a few months due to a strict medical prescription, your doctor may allow you to have all kinds of fruits. However, excess of anything is not good for health.

13. What are the risks of gestational diabetes for the baby?

Gestational diabetes is taken care of with the help of certain medications. However, it has been reported that women with gestational diabetes give birth to babies who are overweight, preterm, having low blood sugar, respiratory distress syndrome, and highly vulnerable to type 2 diabetes (later in life).

Diabetes is a serious condition that can have long-term effects. However, if this disease is managed properly, individuals can lead a normal and healthy life.

Dr RM Chhabra
Dr. R. M. Chhabra is a Senior, Consultant Physician at Fortis Hospital, Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders Department, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi. He has over 30 years of experience. He has completed his MD (internal medicine) degree from Sardar Patel Medical College, Bikaner, Rajasthan in 1987. Dr. R. M. Chhabra is a Governing member of the Association Of Physicians of India (API), Past Treasurer and Executive member of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI), Founder & Past President of the North Delhi Physician Forum (NDPF) Life member of the Research Society of Diabetes of India (RSSDI), & the Delhi Diabetic Forum (DDF).

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