Diabetes is a disease that has been around for centuries, but it was only recently that we started calling it the silent killer. And while the name may be relatively new, the dangers of diabetes are not. For those unaware, diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot regulate the body’s blood sugar, leading to periods of high and low sugar levels when you consume certain food items.
Diabetes is a severe and chronic illness that can lead to various potential health complications and lead to an untimely death if not properly managed. But what makes diabetes so dangerous? In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why diabetes is called a silent killer. From its effects on the body to its often hidden symptoms, read on to learn more about this deadly disease, its causes, and the best treatments available to prevent its onset.
Symptoms of diabetes
Some symptoms are associated with diabetes, although many people do not experience any symptoms. It is one of the reasons why people refer to diabetes as a silent killer. The most common sign of diabetes is an increase in thirst and urination. Other symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing wounds
If you experience any of these symptoms, you must see your doctor for a diagnosis. Usually, if you or someone close to you is experiencing these symptoms, there’s a high probability that they have diabetes.
Causes of diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, young adults or adolescents, while type 2 diabetes usually develops in people over 40. However, this isn’t always the case; many young people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. As mentioned above, it occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or when the cells don’t respond appropriately to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose (sugar) enter the cells.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but it’s thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any point in life for various reasons, and some of the most common ones include the following:
- Obesity: Unmanageable weight gain is one of the major contributing factors to developing type 2 diabetes.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Many young adults indulge in far more screen time these days, making it challenging to regulate the body’s insulin levels.
- Eating processed food is one of the most direct contributors to diabetes. Foods high on the glycemic index are straightforward to digest, causing spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
- Family history of diabetes: Genetics increases the probability of developing diabetes.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Tests for diabetes
Two types of tests can be used to screen for diabetes. The first is the fasting plasma glucose test, a blood test taken after fasting for at least 8 to 12 hours. This test measures your blood sugar level and can diagnose diabetes if the blood sugar is higher than usual.
The second type of test is the oral glucose tolerance test, a blood test taken two hours after drinking a sugary drink. This test measures your blood sugar level and can diagnose diabetes if it is higher than usual.
If you have diabetes, it is essential to monitor your blood sugar levels carefully and to take steps to control them. You may need to take medication, change your diet, and exercise daily.
Treatment for diabetes
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the treatment of diabetes. The best way to manage your diabetes is to work with a team of healthcare professionals who can tailor a treatment plan to meet your specific needs.
Your treatment plan may include the following:
- Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, etc.
- Medications: If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your life.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to manage your condition with lifestyle changes and oral medications, but you may eventually need insulin to manage your symptoms. Your healthcare team will also help you monitor your blood sugar levels and watch for signs of complications such as heart disease, nerve damage or kidney disease.
How to prevent diabetes
If you have diabetes or are at risk for developing it, you must be aware of the signs and symptoms to prevent complications.
- While many people with diabetes don’t experience any symptoms in the early stages, it’s still important to be alert so that you can get treatment and make lifestyle changes at the first sign that something may be wrong.
- Lifestyle changes are one of the best ways to combat diabetes and prevent it from ever occurring.
Here are two things you can implement right away:
- Dietary changes: Consume whole foods and vegetables such as apples, whole wheat, spinach, legumes and pulses. Most of these foods rank low in the glycemic index, so they won’t increase blood sugar levels after consumption.
- Physical regimen: Since a sedentary lifestyle contributes to diabetes, it’s time to put on your shoes and start moving. Walking, running, swimming and practising yoga are some of the best ways to stay in shape and regulate insulin production.
It’s essential to be aware of the dangers of diabetes, which is often referred to as a silent killer since many people do not experience any symptoms during the early stages. Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. But with lifestyle changes and medications, you can keep the condition at bay.
To know more about managing your diabetes, reach out to us at United We Care, an online health and wellness platform.