Diabetes is a serious chronic metabolic disease characterized by an increase in blood sugar levels associated with long-term damage and failure of organ functions especially the eyes, the kidneys, the nerves, the heart, and blood vessels. Diabetes occurs when insulin is not adequately produced by the pancreas. It also happens when the body cannot properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone necessary for the proper utilization of sugar by muscles, fat, and liver. In diabetics, the blood sugar reaches a dangerously high level which can lead to the blindness, stroke, kidney failure, heart attack, wounds that won’t heal and impotence.
Type 1 or Insulin Dependent Diabetes which develops during childhood or adolescence and affects about 10% of all diabetic patients. People with this type of diabetes require a lifetime of insulin injections for survival since their pancreas can’t produce insulin. On the other hand, Type 2 or Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes generally develops at the adult stage due to unhealthy lifestyle. Children of diabetics, obese people, people with hypertension, people with high cholesterol levels, and people with sedentary lifestyles are at risk of diabetes.
You may be a diabetic if:
• If you urinate frequently, experience excessive thirst, or have unexplained weight loss
• If your casual blood sugar (plasma glucose) level is higher than 200mg/dl
• If you have fasting plasma glucose level of not more than 126mg/dl
If you have any of these symptoms, especially if you are overweight see your doctor right away for proper guidance and treatment.
If there is no improvement in my blood sugar levels, there are drug therapies using oral hypoglycemic agents. Your doctor can prescribe one or two of the following drugs depending on what may be appropriate for you: Sulfonylurea (Glibenclamide, Glicalzide, Glimepiride, Repaglinide); Biguanide (Metformin); Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors (Acarbose); Thiazolidindione (Troglitazone, Rosiglitazone, Proglitazone); DPP-IV Inhibitors (Sitagliptin, Vidagliptin).
REMEMBER, if you have the classic symptoms of Diabetes:
• See your doctor regularly for proper management!
• Start dieting, exercise regularly
• If you are obese, lose weight
• Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking
• If you are hypertensive, consult your doctor for advice and proper management
• Do not discontinue your prescribed medication in favor of medication with no approved therapeutic claims (i.e. herbal or dietary supplements)