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WHAT IS DIABETES?


What is Diabetes?
 
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterised by abnormally high levels of blood glucose (blood sugar). In people suffering from diabetes, the body is unable to properly process food for use as energy. Let's put it this way - most of the food we eat turns into glucose or sugar, which our body uses for energy. The pancreas makes a hormone called 'insulin' to help glucose penetrate into the cells of the body. At times, the body doesn't make enough or any insulin. As a result, the glucose (or sugar) stays in the blood and over time causes health problems. This is why many people refer to diabetes as “sugar”.
 
What is borderline diabetes?
 
The term borderline diabetes indicates that a person does not really have diabetes, but a milder version of the disease, which can turn into full-blown diabetes if precautions are not taken.
 
What are the types of diabetes?
 
There are two types of diabetes: Type-1 and Type-2
 
Type-1 diabetes explained:
 
Type-1 diabetes was earlier known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). In people suffering from Type-1diabetes, the body does not make sufficient quantities of insulin. Type-1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with Type-1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to keep going.
 
Autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are the reasons behind Type-1 diabetes.
 
Type-1 accounts for 5-10 per cent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
 
Type-2 diabetes explained:
 
Earlier known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 per cent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. It occurs when the body doesn't produce sufficient insulin or when the glucose stays in the blood and the body fails to utilise it as fuel for energy. Type-2 diabetes is often linked to obesity. However, other risk factors include old age, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, family history of diabetes, smoking, etc.
 
Other specific types of diabetes result from specific genetic syndromes, surgeries, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses. They account for only 1 to 2 per cent of those diagnosed with diabetes.
 
What are the early signs of diabetes?
 
Some of the early signs of diabetes include
 
Excessive thirst and hunger, nausea, fatigue, weight gain or loss, frequent urination, darkening of the skin in areas of body creases, numbness in hands and feet, skin infections, etc.
 
Do note that symptoms of diabetes are the same in men and women.
 
What is pre-diabetes?
 
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but a person does not yet have diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at the risk of developing the disease.
 
What is the treatment for diabetes?
 
Although diabetes has no cure, steps can be taken to manage it and stay healthy.
 
Type-1 diabetes can be managed with insulin as well as dietary changes and exercise.
 
Type-2 diabetes can be dealt with non-insulin medication, insulin, weight reduction and dietary changes.

When is World Diabetes Day?
 
November 14 is celebrated as World Diabetes Day in over 170 countries. This day is meant to raise awareness about diabetes.
 
Why India should seriously give attention to diabetes?
 
Over 429 million people across the globe are suffering from diabetes. According to the Indian Medical Association, India has the second-highest diabetes population in the world and are four times more likely to develop the disorder.
 
One person dies every eight seconds because of diabetes and its related diseases, says IMA. The increasing trend of diabetes in India is due to lack of physical activities and healthy living environment.

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