Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood. It’s a condition that affects millions worldwide and requires lifelong management. Our commitment as a telemedicine company is to delve deeper into the intricacies of diabetes, empowering individuals with knowledge to better manage their condition.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes: This type is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. It often manifests in children or young adults but can occur at any age. Genetic predisposition and environmental triggers, like certain viruses, are suspected causes.
Type 2 Diabetes: The most prevalent form, it usually develops gradually and is strongly linked to lifestyle factors. Insulin resistance or insufficient insulin production characterizes type 2 diabetes. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary habits, and genetics significantly contribute to its onset.
Gestational Diabetes: Occurring during pregnancy, this type affects some women who haven’t had diabetes before. It arises due to hormonal changes that induce insulin resistance. Though it usually resolves post-delivery, both the mother and child face increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Other Types: Less common types include monogenic diabetes (caused by mutations in a single gene) and secondary diabetes (resulting from other medical conditions, medications, or surgeries).
Causes of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes: While the exact cause remains unclear, a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, such as viral infections, might trigger the immune system’s attack on the pancreas.
Type 2 Diabetes: Lifestyle factors play a predominant role, particularly in individuals genetically predisposed. Obesity, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets high in processed foods and sugars, and increasing age contribute significantly.
Gestational Diabetes: Hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to insulin resistance, especially in women with pre-existing risk factors like obesity or a family history of diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Beyond its various types, diabetes shares common symptoms:
Frequent Urination: Excessive sugar in the blood prompts increased urination, leading to dehydration and increased thirst.
Excessive Thirst: Dehydration due to frequent urination causes excessive thirst, even after drinking fluids.
Increased Hunger: Inadequate glucose in cells triggers hunger pangs despite eating.
Fatigue: Cells deprived of glucose experience fatigue due to energy depletion.
Blurred Vision: High blood sugar levels can affect the eye’s lenses, leading to vision disturbances.
Slow Healing: High glucose levels impair the body’s ability to heal wounds and fight infections.
Diabetes diagnosis involves several tests:
Fasting Blood Sugar Test: Measures blood sugar levels after an overnight fast, with levels above 126 mg/dL indicating diabetes.
Hemoglobin A1c Test: Reflects average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. For most labs Levels above 6.5% suggest diabetes.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: Checks the body’s ability to process sugar. A blood sugar level above 200 mg/dL after drinking a glucose solution indicates diabetes.
Treatment and Management
Lifestyle Modifications: Encourage a balanced diet, regular exercise, weight management, and stress reduction to improve blood sugar control and overall health.
Medications: Based on type and individual needs, medications like metformin, sulfonylureas, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists, SGLT2 inhibitors, and insulin may be prescribed.
Monitoring: Regular blood sugar monitoring helps individuals understand their body’s response to food, exercise, and medications.
Education and Support: Patient education on proper insulin administration (if necessary), meal planning, monitoring blood sugar, and recognizing symptoms of high or low blood sugar is crucial for self-management. More
Poorly managed diabetes can lead to various complications:
Cardiovascular Issues: Increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension due to high blood sugar damaging blood vessels.
Neuropathy: Nerve damage causing tingling, numbness, or pain in the extremities.
Kidney Disease: Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure due to damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys.
Vision Problems: Diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Diabetes necessitates a comprehensive approach to management. As a telemedicine company, our role extends beyond consultation; it includes empowering individuals with knowledge, providing ongoing support, and fostering a community of shared experiences. Through education and personalized care, we aim to help individuals effectively manage their diabetes, minimizing complications, and improving overall quality of life.
Remember, every individual’s journey with diabetes is unique, and tailored care and continuous support are paramount for successful management.
If you have any concerns or queries about diabetes or its management, consult a highly experienced general physician on DocGenie. All our GPs are available for online video sessions. With DocGenie you can get quality medical help from the comfort of your home, in a cost effective way.
About the Author
Dr. Rachna Kucheria is one of the best general physicians in Delhi NCR. She is a US-trained Physician (Family Practice) on the lines of the old-fashioned ‘Family Doctor’ we grew up with and hope to find again. Her emphasis on early