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Diabetes mellitus commonly known as diabetes is a chronic lifelong condition that affects the body’s ability to use the energy food in food. There are three major types of diabetes; type 1 diabetes, type2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
All the types of diabetes mellitus have something in common. Normally your body breaks down the sugars and the carbohydrates you eat with simple sugar called glucose (dextrose blood sugar). This Glucose fuels the blood in the body and it’s absorbed by insulin which is present in the blood cells. So in the case of diabetes mellitus it’s either the body doesn’t make enough insulin or it cannot use the insulin it produces or a combination of both. Since the cells can’t take in the glucose it builds up in your blood it results in increase in your fasting blood sugar (FBS) and random blood Sugar (RBS) above normal. High levels of blood glucose can damage the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys, heart, eyes or nervous system. That’s why diabetes especially if left untreated can eventually cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and nerve damage to nerves in the feet.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes also called insulin dependent diabetes or called juvenile-onset diabetes because it often begins from childhood. It is an autoimmune condition. Its caused by the body attacking its own pancreas with antibodies thus the damaged pancreas doesn’t make insulin. It’s caused by a genetic predisposition and could also be the result of faulty beta cells in the pancreas that normally produce insulin. Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves taking insulin, which needs to be injected through the skin into fatty tissue below.
Type 2 Diabetes
This is the most common form of diabetes accounting for 95 % of diabetes cases in adults. It was called adult-onset diabetes, but with the epidemic of obsessed and overweight kids, more teenagers are now developing type 2 diabetes. It’s also called non-insulin dependent diabetes. It’s actually milder than type 1 nevertheless it causes major health complications. Particularly in the smallest blood vessels that nourish the kidneys, nerves and eyes. It also increases risk to heart disease and stroke. With type 2 diabetes the pancrease usually produces some insulin. Lack of sensitivity to insulin witnessed here happens primarily in fat, liver and muscle cells. Thus its common with obese people.
This is triggered by pregnancy (pregnancy to some degree leads to insulin resistance). It’s often diagnosed in middle or late pregnancy. Since the high blood sugar level sugar in the mother can be circulated to the baby through the placenta, this type of diabetes must be controlled to protect the baby’s growth and development. This type of diabetes usually resolves itself after pregnancy. However it poses a risk of type 2 diabetes to the mother in the future and it may also result in over weight of the baby before birth. Therefore a case of gestational diabetes requires a close work with the care team.
Symptoms of diabetes mellitus are
- Frequent and large volume of urine
- Excessive thirst
- Increased appetite
- Loss of weight
- Blurred vision
For now there is no cure to diabetes but it can only be managed through nutrition and diet. In diet management the quantity and not just the quanlity of food must be considered. Thus try as much as possible to
AVOID or REDUCE the intake of sugar, honey, energy drink, flavoured drinks, fruit drinks, alcohol, all malt drinks, condensed milk, pastries, yam flour excessive use of palm oil, vegetable oil and all other stimulants. Also avoid smoking or snuffing of tobacco.
TAKE more of vegetables as it contains fibre and other vitamins which help to control the rate at which sugar runs in the blood. Also you can take skimmed milks and low fat cheese.
ENSURE that you always consult the dietician on dietary, establish a routine of regular exercise, and avoid skipping meals. Also endeavour to take insulin or drugs as directed by doctors or medical practitioners.