What causes diabetes and effective ways to control blood sugar levels
Diabetes or Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders which indicates higher levels of glucose in the blood. It happens when the pancreas, a gland behind the stomach fails to produce enough insulin (a hormone which is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas). In some cases, the insulin secretion is normal but it is inactive to carry out digestion of glucose. Insulin is a peptide hormone and it is important in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and proteins. Unfortunately, diabetes has no cure and hence, diabetic people have to be extremely careful about their diet and lifestyle. Controlling blood glucose levels at the normal range is the only way to keep diabetes under control.
Types of diabetes and the causes behind them
Diabetes is categorized under three types:
Type 1 Diabetes – It develops when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin for effective metabolism of glucose. It is commonly called as insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes and causes are still unknown.
Type 2 Diabetes – It begins with insulin resistance where the body cells fail to respond to insulin effectively thus hampering the glucose metabolism. Over the period of time, the pancreas might stop producing insulin. It is called as non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes. The main reason for type 2 diabetes is the excessive body fact especially around the waist and lack of exercise.
Gestational diabetes – Gestational diabetes is quite common in pregnancy, but causes are widely unknown. Women with no history of diabetes develop high blood sugar levels. This type of diabetes disappears post delivery.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Both the types of diabetes have some common warning signs that one shouldn’t be ignoring.
Increase appetite and weakness – Glucose metabolism releases energy which is used to carry out the cellular functions. However, in diabetes, the glucose metabolism is being affected and thus release of energy is curbed. If your body is unable to produce enough insulin or if the body cells are resistant to insulin, the glucose molecules cannot enter the cells and energy production is stopped. This makes a diabetic person tired and hungry.
Increase urination and thirst – Normally, glucose is being reabsorbed by the kidneys, however, in diabetes, this process is hampered. In this process, the body makes more urine and asks for more fluid intake to complete the process.
Dry mouth and itchy skin – As all the fluid is being used to make urine. But other parts of the body stay deprived of it and that causes situations like dry mouth and dry skin.
Blurred vision – Changes in your bodily fluid affects the lenses in your eyes and they swell causing blurred vision.
When the blood sugar level is higher than normal, a person might also show symptoms like
- Yeast infection
- Slow healing wounds
- Pain or numbness in legs
- Sudden weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
As mentioned earlier, diabetes has no cure and hence, one should take proper care to control healthy blood glucose levels to avoid diabetic complications such as stroke, cardiac attack, chronic kidney diseases, foot ulcers, eye damage etc.
How can I control blood sugar levels?
Regular exercise – It helps in losing weight effectively which in turn increases sensitivity to insulin.
Control carbohydrate intake – Your body breaks down the carbohydrates into glucose and it is moved into the body cells by insulin. When the insulin is not able to carry out the process, high carbs intake causes issues.
Load your diet with fiber rich food – Fiber slows down the carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption.
Stay hydrated – A study has shown that people who drink more water are less prone to develop high blood sugar levels. Along with preventing dehydration, water intake helps kidneys flush out excessive glucose.
Count your calories – In diabetes, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. Create a diet plan with your doctor to manage your weight. Also, go for low glycemic foods such as eggs, oats, seafood, beans, lentils, non-starchy vegetables.
Manage stress – Increase in stress is directly proportional to blood glucose levels. Hormones such as cortisol and glucagon are secreted when you are stressed. These hormones shoot up your blood glucose levels.
Along with the above tips, you also need to get enough sleep and keep monitoring the blood glucose levels with the devices available easily in the market. Do not skip your medicines and do not over dose.
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