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Diabetes part 2

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH
JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

If you know someone who is always hungry, drinks a lot of water and is constantly urinating, could that be diabetes? The answer is yes, very likely. Before we delve into the second episode, let us have a recap.

Recap:

Diabetes is a medical condition that results when you have excess sugar in your blood.  It usually happens when there is a problem with insulin- the hormone responsible for removing this excess sugar from the blood into the cells( to be stored for future use or used by the cells).

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the cells responsible for producing insulin produce little or no insulin at all. This is usually due to the immune system attacking them also called an autoimmune disease.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells that store excess glucose get fed up of responding to insulin usually because they have been overused. This is usually due to diet and a sedentary lifestyle.

Type 1 diabetes is hereditary as parents who suffer from it can transfer it to their offspring whilst type 2 diabetes is obtained from poor eating habits and lifestyle. Diabetes can affect major organs and cause stroke, kidney failure, blindness, hypertension among others. To have in-depth knowledge, please tap on the link https://lambdastories.com/diabetes-is-it-your-fault/ to read on the first episode.

In this last episode, we will discuss the other types of diabetes, how to test for diabetes and how to manage it or prevent it.

Other types of diabetes

1. Pre-diabetes

A prediabetic person has an unusual amount of sugar in the blood. The sugar is above the normal blood sugar level but it is not enough to cause diabetes. Pre-diabetics as the name suggest can easily become diabetics. Some do not classify this as a type of diabetes because it is just a borderline between normal blood sugar and excess blood sugar. It occurs before type 2 diabetes. A normal sugar level is below 100mg/dl whilst a diabetes blood sugar level above 126mg/dl is diabetes. In between is pre-diabetes which ranges from 100-125mg/dl.

2. Gestational diabetes

As the name suggests, it occurs during pregnancy due to hormonal changes that affect insulin’s ability to work properly. This is very common because almost 1 in every 10 women will develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. It usually goes away with blood sugar levels returning to normal within six weeks after delivery. Gestational diabetes that does not go away after delivery turns into type 2 diabetes which is worrying. Nevertheless, gestational diabetes screening is performed during pregnancy because it can increase the risk of complications to both the mother and the unborn baby. Also, women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Pregnant women who have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes include:

· Women above the age of 25.

· Obese women

· Women who have a family history of diabetes

· Usually black, Asian and Hispanic women due to their genes.

The ones below are rare. They include:

3. Monogenic diabetes syndromes: this is an inherited form of diabetes.

4. Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes: this occurs in people who have cystic fibrosis.

5. Drug-induced diabetes: this happens when an individual gets diabetes due to certain medications. This usually happens after an organ transplant or HIV/AIDS treatment.

Diagnosis

One may ask, how do I check if I have diabetes. It is simple, visit the nearest clinic and inform the doctor about your suspicions. After the doctor listens to your symptoms, he or she may recommend a blood glucose test for you. This will measure the glucose level in your blood to determine if it is normal or abnormal. There are different types of tests usually 3 that can determine your blood glucose level. They include:

· Fasting blood glucose test: This test is designed to measure the glucose level after a long break from food. This test is performed in the morning because patients have slept for 6-8 during which no food was ingested and patients are advised to abstain from food before the test except for water.

· Random plasma glucose test: unlike the former, this can be done anytime whether a person has eaten or not.

· Oral glucose tolerance test:the body glucose level is measured after an overnight fast just like the first test (fasting blood glucose test). In addition, you will be asked to take a sugary drink. Your glucose level is checked one, two and three hours after the drink. This will give an idea about how glucose is ingested by your body cells.

The least common test performed in some developing countries include:
  • A1c test: This test, also called HbA1C or glycated haemoglobin test. It provides your average blood glucose level over the past two to three months. It measures the amount of glucose attached to haemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen. You don’t need to fast before this test.

Below are the ranges from the test performed and what it says about your glucose level.

The above tests usually determine type 2 diabetes which is the most common among 90-95% of all cases of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes: blood sample will be taken to check for autoantibodies. These are the antibodies that attack the pancreas and prevent it from releasing insulin. Most of the time, a urine sample is taken to check for ketones which is quite simpler. Ketones present in the urine shows that your body is using fat as its energy supply instead of glucose from carbohydrate (this is because the glucose is stuck in the blood and cannot get to the cells in your body).

Gestational diabetes: Two blood glucose tests are performed during pregnancy. The pregnant woman is made to drink a sugary liquid after which her glucose level will be checked after an hour. If it is above (140mg/dL), an oral glucose test will follow as described above.

How to manage diabetes

1. One major way to manage diabetes is to check your diets: Diets can manage, prevent or reverse diabetics. Consult a dietician if you suffer from diabetics or one will be recommended for you. Diabetes does not mean abstinence from all carbohydrates. You can replace empty or simple carbohydrates such as carbonated drinks, ice cream, toffees which cause a sudden rise in blood glucose level with starchy carbohydrates such as bread, grains, etc. most fruits contain sugar so they must be taken in moderation.

2. Exercise

Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes. Even with diabetics, you can engage in activities that can help you to lose weight and stay fit.

3. Drugs: Some drugs are prescribed which causes insulin to be produced.

Diabetes affects the whole body. You can make a difference now by checking your weight, diet and lifestyle. Diabetics constantly check their blood sugar levels with an instrument called a glucometer to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

You can prevent diabetes most of the time if you become conscious about your health. Remember, you only live once!

References

  1. Cleveland clinic. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/7104-diabetes-mellitus-an-overview
  2. CDC. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

A young lady who is excited to influence the society and world with the knowledge she has acquired.