Sep 29 - Oct 12, 2008

In the scientific term, diabetes is a condition generally affecting the endocrine functional system of human body i.e. our glands and the hormones that they produce, whereby the pancreas stops producing insulin or produces too little; or where the cells in our body are resistant to the insulin that our body pancreas produces.

The insulin which was discovered by two Canadian named Baintry and Best in 1921, is the hormone which unlocks the cells in our body and allows the sugar (glucose) in our body to be used for energy at once or to be stored to be used later on. In the human body the blood sugar normally comes from carbohydrates in the food we eat. These are broken down in our digestive system and then transported around our body to be used as natural fuel for the energy we need in every day life.

It has been reported that unless we have enough insulin the sugar in our body cannot be used efficiently, hence causing our blood sugar levels to rise. If we left untreated, high blood sugar levels can cause long-term health problems. One should avoid taking sugar made food items. Being diagnosed with diabetes will give us the opportunity to make the necessary changes to our lifestyle, therefore enabling us to avoid some of the risks associated with diabetes.

The normal range for control of diabetes in blood sugar is 80 to 120 mg/dl (FBS) and 2 hours after meal 140 to 160mg/dl (RBS). The blood pressure should be 130/80 to 140/90 mmHg for systolic and diastolic pressures respectively. Good cholesterol (HDL) is 45mg/dl for men and 55mg/dl for women. Similarly bad cholesterol both for men and women is 100mg/dl. Triglyceride also a kind of cholesterol should be slightly less than 150mg/dl. Tight glucose control (HbA1c) should be 7.0 or less than 7 per cent. Some of the important tests for diabetes patients are: eye examination, kidney test for micro-albumin urea as well as foot examination.

There are two types of diabetes, type -1 or IDDM and type- 2 or NIDDM. Each type of diabetes has different causes so they are treated differently. As the causes are closely related the symptoms are also very similar. A diabetes patient has the following symptom: Dehydration and excessive or abnormal thirst and dry mouth, a need to frequently go to the toilet for urination, extreme lethargy, excessive tiredness, constant hunger, sudden weight loss, itching in the genital area or frequent episodes of thrush, cut and wound may be very slow to heal, recurrent infections such as boils.

Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 diabetes occurs when the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are damaged. Thus the pancreas eventually stops producing any insulin at all. It usually affects young people, although it can occur at any age and can develop very quickly over a short space of time. It is controlled with insulin injections. The amount of insulin we need is balanced against the levels of sugar in our blood.

Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes occurs when, the cells in our body are resistant to the effects of insulin. Our pancreas does not produce enough insulin. It develops slowly and gradually over a long period of time, so the symptoms may not be noticed and the condition often goes undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is usually found in middle aged or elderly people, but it is increasingly being diagnosed in early adulthood and sometimes in childhood. It generally runs in families and is particularly prevalent in certain ethnic groups. It can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise.

Exercise plays an important role in reducing the blood pressure and thus physical exercise undoubtedly helps to heart attack risk but it has to be vigorous enough to make us slightly breathless. Strolling and playing golf for example are enjoyable but are probably not sufficiently energetic. Brisk walking on the level land, or hill walking, swimming and cycling and participation in sports such as football are examples of the kind of exercises we need to consider.

Walking regularly may reduce heart attack. Exercise also has to be regular if it is to go on helping i.e. for at least 20-30 minutes three times a week.

A diabetes patient should strictly take vegetables as ladyfinger, spinach, salad, radish, kakri or cucumber, cauliflower, green chili, onion, turnip, gourd, brinjal, lemon, tori, tomato, bran bread etc. If that is not enough to control it, we will be given prescribed tablets, or we may need to move on to insulin injections. There are some tablets which have potential effect to control this disease and generally improve insulin sensitivity, preserve B-cell function, reduce the onset of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications effective glycaemic control, low level of hypoglycaemia and well established safety profile.

Managing Diabetes: Firstly, our healthcare professionals will help us to find ways to keep our blood sugar levels under control; exercising regularly will help to use up the excess sugar in our blood; we must choose suitable diet and to do regular walking for 20 minutes 2-3 days a week. If anyone has type 2 diabetes then we many use tablets recommended by a recognized doctor, or to stimulate our pancreas to produce more insulin. If it is out of control then doctor will recommend insulin. If the sugar in the blood is high then we have to test our blood for sugar and also our urine to find out the presence of sugar in the blood and in the urine.