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Diabetes: Stay healthy to prevent life-long companion Diabetes  Previous Next

Stay healthy to prevent life-long companion Diabetes

by: Jenifer D'souza

Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreas helps in lowering the blood glucose level but; in diabetic condition the absence or insufficient production of insulin causes hyperglycemia – elevating the amount of glucose in the blood to a level that is too high for optimal health.

Diabetes shows very few symptoms until it is in advanced stages. The early symptoms of diabetes are related to high blood sugar levels and loss of glucose in the urine subjected to frequent and excessive urination which consequently leads to dehydration. Some diabetic patients show signs of exhaustion, nausea and weight loss. Fluctuations in blood glucose levels can lead to blurred vision.

Insulin is a key regulator of the body's metabolism and is responsible for elevated sugar levels in diabetes of both types – Type1 or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and Type2 or non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Type2 diabetes occurs in 90% of the cases. Blood sugar rises because cells become resistant to insulin and do not take up enough glucose. It is also related to obesity and lack of exercise. If left untreated, the high levels of glucose in the blood slowly but steadily damage organs such as the eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves. Treatment includes eating a balanced diet that spreads carbohydrates throughout the day, getting regular exercise, monitoring blood sugar levels, and possibly taking medication.

Diabetes diet varies according to each individual’s medical history. The overall dietary guidelines include, avoiding saturated fat; low cholesterol diet intake; plenty of fiber-rich food, sugar intake in the form of fresh fruits (fructose); reduce salt intake and protein diet limited to fish and soy protein (excluding high fat animal protein).

Drug therapy is induced in diabetic patients if lifestyle changes do not prove effective. Apart from injecting insulin into the bloodstream, oral medications are recommended in addition to diet and exercise. A few common oral prescription drugs are Actos and Metformin. But these medications should be taken under medical recommendation to prevent drug interaction and possible side-effects.

• Actos (generic Pioglitazone), is used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Pioglitazone is an anti-hyperglycemic agent which helps the body respond better to insulin and it reduces the amount of sugar produced by the liver.
• Metformin (generic Glucophage), is also used for treating Type2 diabetes. Metformin firstly, reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver; secondly, it reduces the amount of glucose absorbed from food intake; and thirdly, it makes the insulin produced by the body work better to reduce the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition which even if controlled lasts a lifetime. Patients with diabetes should never forget the importance of diet and exercise. The control of diabetes starts with a healthy lifestyle regardless of what medications are being used.

Jenifer D'souza is an amateur writer to providing information on all health related topics or on the latest health topics.

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