Understand what diabetes is

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Diabetes means there is excess sugar (glucose) in your blood. When you eat, your food is converted to glucose which supplies the body with energy. This glucose is transported from the blood to where it will be made use of and what transports this is called Insulin.

About diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when your body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced cannot be made use of. The body may not be able to make use of it because it could not detect that it has been produced. This implies that people with diabetes may need to be on drugs or insulin for the rest of their life.

The risk factors for developing diabetes can be modifiable or non-modifiable. Modifiable risk factors are those you can change to prevent developing diabetes like obesity, sedentary lifestyle while non-modifiable risk factors are those you cannot change like family history of diabetes and age. By the time symptoms start to appear in people with diabetes, complication is likely to have set in. This means that you need regular check up to detect diabetes early and not waiting for symptoms.

Types of diabetes

There are 3 major types of diabetes. This include:

1. Type 1 diabetes: This usually occur because the body could not produce insulin at all or could not make enough. Insulin is produced by an organ in our body called pancreas. In some people, the body sees part of itself as being foreign and therefore sends some killer cells to its own organ. This is what happens in type 1 diabetes. The body sends killer cells (antibodies) that destroy the pancreas leading to inadequate or no insulin production. This usually occur in children although a few percentage of it occur in adult. Those with type 1 diabetes need to be on insulin.

2. Type 2 diabetes: Here the pancreas produce insulin though it may be inadequate but the body cannot detect that insulin has been produced. This usually occur in obese people or people with abdominal fat. This set of people will need drugs to maintain their blood sugar.

3. Gestational diabetes: This occurs when high blood sugar is detected in a pregnant woman. Their blood sugar usually returns back to normal after delivery. This set of people can develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Who is at risk of having diabetes?

 Those who have someone in their family line (parent, grandparent, siblings) with diabetes are at risk.

 Type 1 diabetes usually occur in children and younger adult while type 2 diabetes occur in people above 45 years of age.

 Those who had high blood sugar in pregnancy are at risk of having type 2 diabetes later in life.

 Anyone with hypertension is at risk of having diabetes.

 Overweight and obese people are also at risk. This is because fat reduces sensitivity to insulin.

 Those that sit down all day and do nothing are at risk of having diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

o They urinate a lot.

o They complaint of thirst and drink a lot of water.

o They eat a lot but loose weight.

o They feel tired easily and complain of restlessness and body pains.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Regular checkup will help detect high blood sugar at the early stages. Your blood will be taken and checked for your sugar level. Two separate blood sugar tests done at different times showing high blood sugar means you have diabetes. If you already have symptoms, a single test is enough to confirm it. The test is better run in the morning when you have not eaten.

Normal fasting blood sugar should be less than 115mg/dl while normal random blood sugar should be less than 200mg/dl.

What are the complications of diabetes?

If your blood sugar is not well controlled, it can affect the function of some part of your body. Diabetes can affect the eyes and cause your vision to be blurred and if not taken care of as soon as possible, it can cause total blindness. It can also damage the nerve that makes you feel normal sensation thereby leading to feeling of abnormal sensation (like paraesthesia, pepperish sensation) or inability to feel sensation at all on their hands and feet.

It also affects the kidney and makes it not to function properly. It can even make the kidney to fail totally. It can also cause stroke and heart attack. Also, it causes sores on the leg and makes these sores not to heal on time. If this is not taken care of on time, it can result in amputation of the leg.

How can you prevent these complications?

• Eating of healthy diet.

• Regular exercise is very important. Adults should have about 30minutes of exercise per day and about 150minutes per week.

• Loosing weight if you are obese or overweight is very important.

• Reduce alcohol consumption and smoking.

• Prevent sedentary lifestyle. Do not just sit down all day. Get one or two things to do.

• Ensure good control of your blood sugar. This can be achieved by taking your medications which helps to prevent complications.

• Going for regular checkup. This helps to detect other factors that can enhance complication like high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.


Diabetes is a chronic disease that can be prevented especially in adults. You need to note that it is not a death sentence. Your compliance with medications and ensuring lifestyle modification will help to prevent complications.

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Dr Kay
About Dr Kay 58 Articles
As a physician, I love to give answers to several questions bothering people, educating them on how to be healthy, breaking down what their present condition is all about and counselling them on how to manage their condition.

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