Feb 16, 2022
By Oyinkansolami Alabi
Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases globally, affecting about 422 million people. When you hear the word 'diabetes,' the first thing that most likely pops into your mind is 'high blood sugar.' While most people know this, very few people actually know just how bad the effects of abnormally high blood sugar are to the body. Although there is currently no cure for diabetes, it can be appropriately managed to help you live a normal life when discovered early.
So, if you have heard about diabetes but haven't taken the time to learn more about it due to a lack of interest or because you believe you can never have the disease, then this article is for you. Read on to know five things about diabetes that you cannot afford to be ignorant about
One of the reasons many cases of diabetes go unnoticed and untreated is because the symptoms of diabetes can be easily missed. In some cases of type 2 diabetes, some patients may not even experience symptoms. On the other hand, when some patients experience symptoms, they may not quickly pick them as diabetic. Some of the commonly recorded symptoms of diabetes are:
If you have these symptoms, you should inform your primary care physician as soon as possible, even if you do not think you are at risk for diabetes.
While diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar, the real cause of diabetes is the inability of the pancreas to make enough insulin, or the insulin produced not being properly used. Insulin is an important hormone that allows the glucose in your bloodstream to be taken up by your cells. When you don't have enough insulin or the insulin isn't working as it should due to your cells' growing resistance, your blood sugar rises to an abnormal level. When left untreated, high blood sugar can begin to cause damage to your body. So, while maintaining a relatively healthy diet reduces your risk of diabetes, it doesn't eliminate it. Other risk factors such as genetics, age, and inactivity can come to play. Therefore, it is advisable to check your blood glucose and insulin levels periodically, especially if you have a family history of the disease.
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the biggest risk factors for diabetes. However, it would interest you to know that even people within a normal weight range can have diabetes too. So, if you have been ignoring your symptoms and avoiding your doctor's appointment, confident that you don't have diabetes because you have an average weight, you may want to run some tests just to be sure.
Diabetes is often regarded as a silent killer, mostly because the damage it causes affects every part of your body. So many complications arise from uncontrolled diabetes, and the longer you have diabetes, the higher the risk of complications from the disease. In the long run, diabetes can cause disabilities and even become life-threatening. Some of the most common complications from diabetes include cardiovascular diseases (stroke, heart attack, and atherosclerosis), nerve damage that can affect the limbs, erectile dysfunction in men, kidney damage, eye damage, hearing loss, and even skin infections. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, we recommend that you strictly follow your doctor's instructions and take your medications as you should.
One of the most common risk factors for diabetes is genetics. If someone in your family, such as a parent or sibling, has the disease, then you are at a higher risk of developing it too. The best way to improve your chances is to go for regular health checkups, eat healthily, and exercise frequently. Even if you do not have diabetes now, your risk of the disease also increases with age. So, preventive measures should be continuous, and you should work in line with your doctor's recommendations.
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