Today is World Diabetes Day (14th November), and it is a good time to spread awareness about this common yet preventable disease. Diabetes is the fastest growing health concern of modern times. According to the W.H.O., the global number of diabetics has spiked alarmingly from 100 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
India is the diabetes capital of the world! India has 69.2 million people suffering from type-2 diabetes. This is why it is important to recognize the warning signs of diabetes so you can seek medical help, diagnosis and begin treatment. If you are of Indian origin, you should get your blood sugar levels (both fasting and post breakfast) checked annually if you’re over 40, have diabetes in your family history, or show the common symptoms. Also, you can buy a blood glucose monitor for home use; it will save you a lot of worrying, time and money.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes or Hyperglycaemia is a chronic disease of the pancreas when it cannot make enough insulin or when the body can’t use the insulin it makes. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
There are two types of diabetes mellitus:
1. Type-1 Diabetes (formerly known as juvenile or childhood-onset), happens suddenly, within a few weeks. It is not preventable but can be treated by injecting daily doses of insulin into the body. The causes of type 1 diabetes are unclear, but it usually affects children or young adults.
2. Type-2 Diabetes (formerly called adult-onset) gradually develops and usually results from being overweight or physical inactivity or genetics – or a combination of all. There is no known cure for diabetes; diabetics learn to live with it for the rest of their life. But with proper medication and lifestyle changes, it can be controlled. Exercise and a balanced diet will help reduce blood sugar levels. You can try anti-diabetic herbs and supplements for diabetes type 2 to your diet.
What are the common symptoms of diabetes?
Both type-1 and type-2 diabetes have similar symptoms (see the 4Ts given below). If you or your child recognize any of these symptoms of diabetes, see you doctor ASAP.
* Toilet: You need to go to the toilet a lot (normally people urinate 2 to 7 times daily). There is sudden bed wetting by an older child, or your baby has heavier nappies.
* Thirsty: You feel really thirsty, and can’t seem to drink enough water to quench the thirst.
* Tired: You feel more tired than usual for no good reason.
* Thinner: You are losing weight for no apparent reason and look thinner.
Take home message
Diabetes is the fastest growing global health crisis. Type-2 makes up 90% of all diabetics worldwide; it’s even more common in India. To add to the problem, 50% diabetics in India are unaware they suffer from it. If it goes untreated, diabetes can kill: 1.6 million people died from diabetes in 2015. And it is no longer a senior disease: 46% of type-2 diabetics in India are below 40 years of age.
The more people know about diabetes, the better we can manage it. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes may lead to devastating problems, such as loss of sight, limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke. This World Diabetes Day spread the awareness and share these warning signs of diabetes with your friends and family.