“My mother lost her battle against diabetes, but I remember her last days when we used to check her blood sugar level by visualizing her tongue colour ” – told Azhar.
Diabetes, a disease that goes far beyond the fear of needles or giving up on your favourite desserts!
Diabetes – A Pissing Evil
Diabetes is a chronic condition that is characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to regulate sugar in the blood. In other words, if you are diabetic your blood has more sugar than it should.
You might ask why an abnormal blood sugar level is a problem for your system? It is like a slow-poison that causes slow but significant damage to your body organs. The condition if not managed properly can wreak havoc.
Have you heard of people getting their leg or toe amputated because high sugar levels interfered with the wound healing? This is one of the many diabetes complications.
Excess glucose can also be present in your urine.
Before we dive deeper into the details, let’s see how DIABETES develops!
Glucose is the fuel of our body and our diet is the primary source of it. Extra glucose in your blood is neutralized by inducing the production of insulin from the pancreas in normal conditions. In the case of diabetes, insulin production is affected in cases that consistently raise blood sugar levels.
Type 1 VS. Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes, although refers to high blood sugar levels, can be of two different types. Type 1 diabetes occurs when there is no production of insulin. However, in the case of type 2 diabetes, either there is insufficient insulin production in the body or the body is simply resistant to producing insulin.
Both types of diabetes show similar symptoms due to a lot of misdiagnosis happen.
“My father was being treated for type 2 diabetes for months while he suffered from type 1 diabetes. This misdiagnosis followed by a wrong treatment approach caused irreparable damage to his health.” told Hassan.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), diabetes alone caused 1.5 million deaths in 2019.
Beyond High Blood Sugar – What Does Diabetes Look Like?
When it comes to diagnosis, earlier the diagnosis better will be the treatment goes right. You can keep your eyes on the red flags as these can be the earliest symptoms of diabetes.
- If you have the urge to urinate again and again
- You are always looking for water
- Your stomach is always growling
- Low Energy levels
- The world is getting blurred
- Your hands and feet are numb or you have a tingling sensation
- Wound are your new best friends
- Recurring yeast infections
So, knowing about these signs can give you early clues for the disease. However, for a confirmed diagnosis regular monitoring of blood sugar level via glucometer and alongside other blood testing is required.
Myths of Diabetes
Before I proceed I need to warn you about breaking your limiting belief that came from the epidemic of misinformation. Now when we have the basic idea of what diabetes is about, let’s have a look at the lesser-known side of diabetes.
1- Too Much Sugar Causes Diabetes
Well, this is one popular belief and I’m sure most of you have believed this or still believe it. But the facts are contrary to it. Too much consumption can cause diabetes but the way your body processes this sugar creates all the difference.
If your body is incapable of producing insulin or sufficient insulin, then it’s difficult for you to even bear with a little amount of sugar.
2- If you are on Insulin, your Diabetes is Severe
The type of treatment your physician asks you to follow depends upon your condition and no particular treatment can tell about the severity. Insulin is given when there is no insulin produced (in most type 1 cases) and here no oral medication can stimulate the production of insulin. Thus, your condition determines the treatment option your physician gives to you.
3- Only Overweight People can Get Diabetes
This is another popular belief that says that only overweight or obese individuals are at the risk of developing diabetes. This claim may have its roots in the fact that excessive body weight is a risk factor as well. However, the claim is not true and people who are at their ideal body weight may also suffer from the disease.
4- Artificial Sweeteners Become your New Friend
“When my 7 years old cousin was diagnosed with diabetes, rest of us started using artificial sweeteners as a preventive measure” – told Zawar
This was nothing but one of the very first measures people take. Obviously, masses are not to be blamed for this because it is a widely accepted fact that you can safely use artificial sweeteners as a replacement for sugar or go after sugar-free foods.
However, this is not completely true.
Well, I have got my reasons to say this. Research says that artificial sweeteners have many adverse side effects on your health. This is because these sugar-free products are not so harmless and can still affect your diabetes in many ways i.e, increased appetite, slower metabolism, affected gut health etc.
5- NATURAL SUGAR is Harmless!
Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, sugar no more remains your friend. However, people who are diabetic think that they are only prohibited from consuming white sugar and natural sugars are safe for them.
However, this isn’t completely true because natural sugars aren’t completely harmless for you. So, being diabetic isn’t only about eliminating your favourite desserts from your diet but saying no to fruits juices as well.
5- You can VISUALIZE High Blood Sugar
“My mother became very aggressive when her doctor changed her diabetes medication. This was very disturbing for us until the doctor told us about diabetic rage,” told Shifa.
Once your sugar level goes up, you will have clear signs for that. Many times too much thirst, fatigue is considered as the significant markers of high blood sugar levels.
This is just a MYTH! Because your blood sugar level has to be significantly higher to produce any sign. In other cases, you may have high blood sugar without any apparent sign so you need to monitor the patient’s blood sugar level without waiting for things to happen on their own.
Let’s Wrap Up!
I hope you are a little less afraid of diabetes now.
Considering the facts above, all we know is diabetes is a condition that comes with no permanent cure. Following the right lifestyle practices and sticking to your treatment plan is the only way to manage the condition.
Advice for Diabetics Care Takers: If you take care of someone who suffers from diabetes, make sure to have an eye on nutrients they are consuming, physical activity patterns, the pace at which their wounds heal, and of course, the blood sugar level.
Live well with diabetes or be miserable -it’s you who decides.
So, let’s take a step ahead towards a diabetes-free community; help yourself or be a help to others! For more queries and ambiguities, reach out to our top diabetologists on Healthwire.pk.