Monday, March 4, 2024

Diabetes Mellitus – Frequently asked questions

The World Diabetes Day 2010 passed on Sunday under the theme: Education and Prevention. And so we offer you some of the most frequently asked questions about Diabetes Mellitus.

What is diabetes?
Diabetes, often called ‘sugar disease’, is a medical condition in which one fails to control blood sugar levels. This sugar comes from the food we eat, and is a form in which body cells can extract energy from the food we eat. Two common types are: Type 1 (Insulin dependent) and Type 2 (non insulin dependent).

The Type I group needs insulin replacement and Type 2 is usually managed on diet and pills but can end up taking insulin, if their diabetes is out of control.

Can I get diabetes from the sugar we drink in coffee and tea?
Tea sugar is not a recognized cause for diabetes, but it is among a class of food that causes weight gain if consumed in excessive amounts. Obesity, especially tummy obesity, is the one which is linked to Type 2 diabetes.

My mother has diabetes. Does that mean I will get it?
Diabetes tends to run in families, but that does not mean you will get it because your mother has it. However, your risk of getting diabetes may increase if you get exposed to lifestyle habits that cause weight gain. These include eating junk and fatty foods and lack of exercise.

Is diabetes a curable disease?
Diabetes does not have a cure but can be controlled. Diabetes is managed through combination of Lifestyle modification and medical therapy. Proper food selection is important. Low salt, low fat, fruits and vegetable rich diet and regular aerobic exercises help medical therapy to control diabetes.

I have diabetes and on medical treatment. I have seen many diabetics injecting themselves. Does that mean I will also need injection at some point?
Insulin injection is usually prescribed to Type I diabetics because they need it. They can’t produce sufficient insulin for their body’s optimal sugar control. However, some adults are given an insulin injection when pills and lifestyle management fail to control the blood sugar.

What do I really need to eat as a diabetic? I am confused.
The principle is you need to avoid all foods that are rich in fat, high in energy, and increase vegetables and fruits in your diet. Ask your doctor for a referral to a dietician. They are usually found in many hospitals and clinics both in public and private sector. The dietician will take into consideration your overall health before he/she offers you advice on how you should plan your meals. Nutritionists can also offer you good advice on what to eat.

Will I get stroke and heart attack from my diabetes?
These are known complications of uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol disease. This means that if these diseases are under control one has very low risk of getting disease.

What are complications of high blood sugar or diabetes?
If blood sugar continues to be out of control, blood vessels get damaged. This occurs everywhere in the body where there is a blood vessel. Eventually blood flow is disrupted and sometimes events that cause blood clotting occur and this may cause stroke, heart attack and limb amputations. Poor vision, kidney failure, impotence are some of the known complications of diabetes. High blood pressure and high blood cholesterol tend to increase the risk for diabetes related complications, especially if they are not managed well.

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