This condition has become one of the main sources of illness, that is often diet related in the western world. The WHO (World Health Organization) defines Diabetes thus:
What Is Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, can lead to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
Type I Diabetes – Cause and Symptoms
Type I was previously known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes and characterized by deficient insulin production requiring daily administration of insulin. The cause is not known and with current knowledge it’s believed to be unpreventable.
Symptoms include excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. These symptoms may occur suddenly.
Type II Diabetes – Cause and Symptoms
Type II was formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin. It comprises 90% of people with diabetes around the world, and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.
Symptoms may be similar to those of Type I Diabetes, but are often less marked and as a result, the disease go un-diagnosed for several years until complications arise, by which time the condition is embedded. Until recent times, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but now it’s showing up in children too.
Gestational Diabetes – Cause and Symptoms
This type of diabetes is also hyperglycaemia and first recognized during pregnancy. The symptoms are similar to Type II diabetes and mostly get’s diagnosed at pre-natal screening, rather than through reported symptoms.
According to the WHO statistics published in August 2011, 346 million people have diabetes worldwide, a staggering figure and in 2004, an estimated 3.4 million people died from the consequences of high blood sugar.
More than 80% of those deaths occurred in low-middle-income countries.
And the scary thing is that WHO’s forward projection, based on the statistics above, estimates that figures will double between 2005 and 2030.
Other Consequences Of Diabetes
Over time the common consequences of diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke).
Although many different problems can occur as a result of diabetic neuropathy, common symptoms are tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in the feet and hands. And the overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double the risk of their peers without diabetes.
Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers and eventual limb amputation.
Diabetes is thought to be one of the leading causes of kidney failure, where 10-20% of people with diabetes die of kidney failure. Diabetic neuropathy is damage to the nerves as a result of diabetes, and affects up to 50% of people with diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. After 15 years of diabetes, approximately 2% of people become blind, and about 10% develop severe visual impairment.
They go on to say that simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of Type II Diabetes and to help prevent the disease and it’s many complications, people should enjoy a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintain a normal body weight and avoid tobacco These measures can help prevent or at least delay the onset of it.
How To Achieve And Maintain A Healthy Body Weight:
- Be physically active with at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days, advising more activity is required for weight control
- Eat a healthy diet of between 3-5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, reducing refined sugar and saturated fats
- Avoid tobacco use because smoking is thought to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Diagnosis And Treatment
Early diagnosis can be accomplished through relatively inexpensive blood testing, so that’s worth looking into, you can even get your own kits at the local pharmacy now.
Treatment of diabetes involves lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. Tobacco use cessation is also important to avoid complications.
Interventions that are both cost saving and feasible in developing countries include:
- moderate blood glucose control. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin; people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin
- blood pressure control
- foot care
Other cost saving interventions include:
- screening and treatment for retinopathy (which causes blindness)
- blood lipid control (to regulate cholesterol levels)
- screening for early signs of diabetes-related kidney disease
Next time we shall look at what META-Medicine believes underlies Diabetes so that you can learn another aspect that in conjunction with all of the above advice gives you an opportunity to include another approach that compliments all that you’re already doing to maintain health or identify what’s going on in your body.