Many medical experts worry that there is a global diabetes epidemic; this insidious health condition is on the rise in developed countries.
What is Diabetes?
According to the eminent Consultant and Authority on Diabetes, Dr. Felix Burden of Birmingham, England 29.2 million children and adults are affected with Diabetes in the United States alone. And 1.4 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Felix when he was treating and monitoring my Mum who had Type 2 Diabetes for nearly 27 years.
I have known Felix both professionally and socially through my endeavours as District Governor of Lions Clubs International when we organise Diabetes Screening Days in our local Doctors Surgeries in my home town.
Diabetes is referred to as "a chronic disease characterised by high levels of sugar (Glucose) in the blood"
How does this happen?
⇒ Glucose enters the blood stream from the food we eat. This is later used for fuel in the body. Our pancreas located next to the stomach makes insulin, which plays a role in moving glucose to muscles, liver cells and fat.
⇒ The pancreas then fail to make enough insulin for the muscle or...
⇒ Fat or liver cells fail to respond to the insulin properly.
⇒ As a result our body's cells are starving for energy and over time,
high blood glucose levels change our overall health, damaging the
kidney, heart, eyes and nerves.
Symptoms of Diabetes
High blood levels of glucose
Sores that do not heal
Nausea and Vomiting
In some cases there are no symptoms at all
Granulated Sugars are
the biggest culprit
There are 4 major types of Diabetes:
1/. Type 1 Diabetes
⇒ Usually diagnosed in childhood
⇒ Affected by hereditary
⇒ Sometimes there are no symptoms
⇒ Imperative to inject insulin daily because
the body makes little or no insulin
⇒ Frequently called the "Insulin needed" group
⇒ Patients with type 1 diabetes need insulin
daily to survive
Insulin Injection and
2/. Type 2 Diabetes
⇒ Most common type of Diabetes
⇒ Usually occurs in adulthood but diagnosis
is increasing in the younger generation
⇒ Affects many children
⇒ Body is incapable of responding to insulin
⇒ Rates rising due to increased obesity
and failure to exercise and eat healthy
Eating the right kind
3/. Gestational Diabetes
⇒ Blood sugar levels are high during pregnancy in women
⇒ Women who gave birth to children over 9lbs
⇒ High risk of type 2 diabetes and
⇒ At least 79 million people are
diagnosed with pre-diabetes
⇒ Above average glucose levels
not enough to be classified
under type 1 or 2 diabetes
⇒ Long term damage to body,
includingHeart and Circulatory
⇒ Usually starts with unhealthy
eating habits and inadequate
Exercise is very
necessary for Diabetics
Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 symptoms are closely similar, although, Type 1 is
often worse in severity.
How Does Diabetes Transmit?
Type 1 Diabetes,
and Gestational Diabetes
Can develop due to poor
diet and inadequate exercise -
Pre-Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes
and Gestational Diabetes
Diabetes develops due to the following factors:
Being Overweight, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol Levels,
Family history of Diabetes, Family history of Gestational Diabetes.
Statistics show that African - Americans, Asian - Americans,
Latino, Hispanic - Americans and Native Americans have a
greater disposition to Diabetes.
Testing for Diabetes
There are two tests Doctors and Physicians use for diagnosis of Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes.
1/. HbA1c Blood test
The term HbA1c refers to glycated haemoglobin. It develops when haemoglobin, a protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body, joins with glucose in the blood, becoming 'glycated'.
By measuring glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), clinicians are able to get an overall picture of what our average blood sugar levels have been over a period of weeks/months.
For people with diabetes this is important as the higher the HbA1c, the greater the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
HbA1c is also referred to as haemoglobin A1c or simply A1c.
|Normal||Below 42 mmol/mol||Below 6.0%|
|Prediabetes||42 to 47 mmol/mol||6.0% to 6.4%|
|Diabetes||48 mmol/mol or over||6.5% or over|
2/. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)
♦ Idea is to measure how well your body reacts to an
average dose of sugar
♦ Blood is drawn from the patient 2 hours before and
after he/she drinks a pre-mixed beverage with sugar
♦ Blood glucose levels are measured to determine how the
♦ Blood glucose range will be between 140 - 199 mg/dL
♦ For those with type 2 diabetes the range will start at
200 mg/dL and continue to peak
How to Prevent and Control Diabetes
♦ Prevention all starts with a better Lifestyle
♦ Eating healthier
♦ Being active
♦ Taking medicine as directed
♦ Taking care of your body
♦ Looking after your feet
♦ Taking care of your teeth
♦ Control High Blood Pressure
♦ No Smoking (Stop completely)
♦ Regular check-ups with your doctor.
♦ Have blood sugars checked regularly
♦ Check blood sugars at home daily
Monitor your Blood Pressure regularly
How does Diabetes Affect the Body ?
Diabetes can affect :
Long term complications includeStroke, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Hyper-Tension, Urinary Infections
and Coronary Artery Disease.
The most frequent health risk from diabetes is known as Cardiovascular Disease. ( Diabetes can cause High Blood Pressure that then causes an even stronger resistance to Insulin)
Diabetes lowers your good Cholesterol and raises your bad Cholesterol leading to an increase of
Heart Disease and Stroke. This can cause your arteries to become clogged with fat.
At least 65% of people with diabetes die from Heart Disease or Stroke.
Can Diabetes be cured?
# Unfortunately there is not yet a cure for Diabetes
# But do not give up hope! There are new facts and discoveries being made everyday
# Doctors are providing treatments that can lower symptoms of Diabetes of all types, which can reduce pain
# By following a good diet and exercise plan, body may be able to use Insulin minimally or none at all in cases besides Type 1 Diabetes
# There is also research being done on "Islet" transplantation
During this procedure, Islets (Clusters of cells from the pancreas that help make Insulin) are taken from the pancreas of a deceased organ donor. Then the Islets are purified, processed and transferred to some one else. These then begin to make and release Insulin individually.
This could possibly be the biggest step in helping patients with type 1 Diabetes live without Insulin Injections.
We wish to acknowledge the fact that majority of the content within the Diabetes Education section of this website is courtesy Dr. Felix Burden and we thank him for this.