Do you know your blood sugar numbers?

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Diabetes mellitus(DM) is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by elevated levels of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia) resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both.DM is popularly known as ‘high blood sugar’.

Normally a certain amount of glucose circulates in the blood. The major sources of this glucose are absorption of ingested food in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and formation of glucose by the liver from food substances.

       Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, controls the level of glucose in the blood by regulating the production and storage of glucose. In the diabetic state, the cells may stop responding to insulin or the pancreas may stop producing insulin entirely. This leads to hyperglycemia.

Diabetes mellitus affects about 17 million people, 5.9 million of whom are undiagnosed. Diabetes is especially prevalent in the elderly, with up to 50% of people older than 65 suffering some degree of glucose intolerance.

Normal range for blood sugar:

  • Fasting: 70-99mg/dl
  • 2hrs after meals: Less than 140mg/dl

A variety of portable glucose monitors(glucometer) are available in pharmacy shops and are quite easy to use at home.

Classification of Diabetes

The major classifications of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 diabetes (previously referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus)
  • Type 2 diabetes (previously referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus)
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus (this develops during pregnancy)
  • Diabetes mellitus associated with other conditions or syndromes

Risk Factors for Diabetes Mellitus

  • Family history of diabetes (ie, parents or siblings with diabetes)
  • Obesity (ie, ≥20% over desired body weight or BMI ≥27 kg/m2)
  • Race/ethnicity (eg, Africans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans,Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders)
  • Age ≥45 years
  • Previously identified impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance
  • Hypertension (≥140/90 mm Hg)
  • HDL cholesterol level ≤35 mg/dL (0.90 mmol/L) and/or triglyceride level ≥250 mg/dL (2.8 mmol/L)
  • History of gestational diabetes or delivery of babies over 9 lbs

Cardinal signs of diabetes mellitus

Warning signs of all types of diabetes include the “three Ps”: polyuria, polydipsia, and polyphagia.

 

  • Polyuria (increased urination)

 

  • Polydipsia (increased thirst)

 

  • Polyphagia (increased appetite)

 

Other symptoms include fatigue and weakness, sudden vision changes, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, dry skin, skin lesions or wounds that are slow to heal, and recurrent infections.

The onset of type 1 diabetes may also be associated with sudden weight loss or nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pains.

If diabetes mellitus remains uncontrolled, complications arise and some of these complications are:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Kidney damage(nephropathy)
  • Eye damage(retinopathy)
  • Foot damage
  • Hearing impairment
  • Skin conditions
  • Nerve damage(neuropathy) e.t.c

There are four keys to management of diabetes namely:

  • Nutritional management
  • Exercise
  • Regular monitoring of glucose levels
  • Drug therapy

PLEASE HURRY AND VISIT ANY GOVERNMENT APPROVED HEALTH FACILTY ONCE YOU NOTICE ANY OR ALL OF THE THREE CARDINAL SIGNS OF DIABETES MELLITUS.

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