“Sugar is the sociopath of foods. It acts sweet but it’s really a poison.”
Diabetes Mellitus is a clinical syndrome characterized by increased blood sugar in the body. It is caused either by insufficient production of insulin or by its resistance in the body. While genes play an important role in causing type 2 diabetes, environmental factors such as unhealthy diet, inactive lifestyle, and excessive weight further contribute to aggravating the ill effects of the condition.
Insulin and its function
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that regulates optimum sugar levels in the body. After each meal, Insulin enables sugar to enter into the body cells which lowers the amount of sugar in our bloodstream. In between meals when the blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from the pancreas.
The role of glucose in maintaining an optimum blood sugar
Glucose is the main source of energy for muscles and peripheral tissues. It acts as a principal metabolic fuel for the brain. It is generated from two main sources; consumed food and liver in our body. Upon consuming food, sugar gets absorbed into the blood and is taken up to the cells by insulin. The liver stores this sugar and converts it into glucose. In between meals, when the blood sugar gets low, the liver breaks down the stored sugars into glucose and releases into the bloodstream that helps maintain an optimum blood glucose level.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Some of the commonly experienced symptoms are increased hunger and thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue & tiredness, slow healing of ulcers and sores, darkened skin in body folds/creases such as the armpit.
Factors contributing to Type 2 Diabetes:
Diabetes is mainly driven by one’s genes which they cannot control but they can successfully lead an active and healthy life by managing their lifestyle, diet, and weight appropriately to stay free of complications. The key contributing factors are discussed below
The less active you are physical, the more is the risk of diabetes type 2. Physical activity maintains the glucose level in the cells, helps maintain a healthy weight, and makes our body cells more receptive to insulin.
A diet high in fat and sugar increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Unhealthy meal planning can lead to obesity. Being overweight makes it more likely to develop insulin resistance which increases the likelihood of type 2 Diabetes.
The more is the fat content in your body, the more resistant it will be to insulin thus increasing the blood sugar level in the blood.
The American Diabetes Association has confirmed that waist circumference is a strong predictor of Diabetes. The more is the fat tissue (especially the belly fat), the more is the insulin resistance in our body.
Genes play an important part in Diabetes; its risk increases if it runs in the family.
Diabetes is more common after 45 years of age, but due to the poor lifestyle, high sugar diet & lack of exercise, it is increasing among the younger adults as well.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS):
Women with PCOS, come at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes if their BMI is more than 30 or have a family history of Diabetes type 2.
Tests to be Performed to Identify & Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Three relevant tests can be performed to check for signs of diabetes in an individual
- Fasting blood glucose level: A blood sample is taken after an overnight fasting of about 8 hours. This test can diagnose both Prediabetic & Diabetic condition.
- Hemoglobin A1C test (HbA1C): This blood test indicates average Blood sugar for the past 2 to 3 months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin.
- Random blood sugar: The blood sample is taken at any random time of the day, regardless of when the food is consumed.
If Diabetes is suspected or detected, both urine tests and Lipid profile tests should be performed. A urine test detects the presence of glucose, ketones, and Protein which all indicate dysfunctional kidneys, and the Lipid profile test detects the risk of heart disease as a complication of diabetes.
About 50% of new cases of diabetes can be controlled adequately by diet alone. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry should be considered by a diabetic. In addition to a diet, engaging in physical activity and reducing the alcohol & smoke intake can also play a role in diabetes management.
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