Diabetes is a major chronic health problem that develops when your body’s cells are unable to absorb sugar (glucose) and utilize it for energy. Extra sugar builds up in your system as a result of this. Diabetes that is not well controlled can have catastrophic effects, including damage to a variety of organs and tissues in your body, including your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
Breaking down the food you consume into multiple nutritional sources is part of the digestive process. When you eat carbohydrates (bread, rice, or pasta), your body converts them to sugar (glucose). When glucose enters your bloodstream, it requires assistance – a “key” – to reach its eventual destination inside your body’s cells (cells make up your tissues and organs). Insulin is the “helper” or “key.”
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, positioned beneath the stomach. Insulin is released into your bloodstream by your pancreas. Insulin is the “key” that opens the “door” in the cell wall that permits glucose to enter your body’s cells. Glucose is the “fuel” or energy that tissues and organs require to function correctly.
Your pancreas does not produce enough insulin if you have diabetes or your pancreas produces insulin. Still, your body’s cells do not respond to it and are unable to utilize it properly. As such, if glucose is unable to enter your body’s cells, it remains in your bloodstream, raising your blood glucose level.
Your glucose level in a blood test is used to diagnose and control diabetes. Fasting blood sugar or fasting glucose test, random glucose test, and A1c test are the three tests that may be used to determine your blood glucose level in diagnostic labs.
- Fasting plasma glucose test: After an eight-hour fast, this test is best performed in the morning (nothing to eat or drink except sips of water).
- Non-fasting random plasma glucose test: This test can be done at any time.
- A1c test: The HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin test determines your average blood glucose level over the previous two to three months. This test determines how much glucose is bound to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in your red blood cells. This exam does not require you to fast.
- An oral glucose tolerance test involves measuring blood glucose levels in a diagnostic lab after an overnight fast. Then you consume a sugary beverage. After that, your blood glucose level is tested one, two and three hours after, respectively.
- Blood glucose testing for gestational diabetes: If you’re pregnant, you’ll need two blood glucose tests. A glucose challenge test involves drinking a sweet beverage and having your blood sugar levels measured an hour later. This exam does not require you to fast. An oral glucose tolerance test will be performed if the glucose level is greater than usual (more than 140 ml/dL).
- Type 1 diabetes: Blood and urine samples will be obtained and examined if your healthcare professional believes you have Type 1 diabetes. Autoantibodies are examined in the blood (an autoimmune sign that your body is attacking itself). The presence of ketones in the urine is examined (a sign your body is burning fat as its energy supply). These symptoms indicate type 1 diabetes.
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Management and Treatment of Diabetes:
Diabetes affects every part of your body. To effectively manage diabetes, you’ll need to keep your risk factors under control and within normal ranges by following a nutrition plan, taking prescribed medication, and increasing your activity level to maintain your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible.
Furthermore, you should try to keep your blood cholesterol (HDL and LDL levels) and triglyceride levels within acceptable limits and maintain a healthy blood pressure level of not more than 140/90 mmHg.
Planning what you eat and sticking to a healthy meal plan are the keys to controlling your diabetes. Follow a Mediterranean diet (vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, healthy fats, low sugar) or the Dash diet (vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, healthy fats, low sugar). These diets are high in fiber and nutrients yet low in fats and calories. For assistance with nutrition and meal planning, see a qualified dietitian. More so, learn to exercise regularly. On most days of the week, try to exercise for at least 30 minutes. Take a walk, swim, or engage in another activity.
If you’re overweight, you’ll need to lose weight. Develop a weight-loss strategy with the help of your healthcare team and take medicine and insulin as directed and according to recommended instructions. Also, keeping regular visits with your healthcare providers and having diagnostic laboratory tests conducted as directed by your doctor and monitoring your blood glucose and blood pressure levels at home can significantly help manage diabetes.
Are there any other Diabetic Treatments?
Yes. Two types of transplants may be possible for a small percentage of Type 1 diabetes patients. First, it is possible to have a pancreatic transplant. But, on the other hand, getting an organ transplant necessitates taking immune-suppressing medicines for the remainder of your life and coping with their adverse effects. If the transplant goes well, you’ll probably be able to stop taking insulin.
Immunotherapy is another Type 1 diabetes treatment that is being studied. Because Type 1 diabetes is an immune system illness, immunotherapy offers promise as a strategy to utilize medicine to switch off the immune system components that cause the disease.
Another therapeutic option for diabetes that is an indirect treatment is bariatric surgery. If you have Type 2 diabetes, are obese (BMI above 35), and are deemed a good candidate for bariatric surgery, it may be a possibility for you. However, people who have dropped a large amount of weight have significantly better blood glucose levels.
Other drugs, of course, are provided to treat any existing health concerns that contribute to an increased risk of diabetes. For example, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other heart-related disorders are among these problems.