Diabetes Symptoms, Diet, Treatment…
What diabetes symptoms am I experiencing? What is the best diabetes diet for me? Well, if these are your questions, I’ve got the answers for you.
Does taking too much sugar cause diabetes?
Well, in today’s article, you will learn the truth behind the disease known as diabetes. You will get to know a brief history of the disease, its symptoms and the best supplements and pills to fight it.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is simply a disease that occurs when the blood sugar (glucose) in the body is relatively too high. Blood sugar (glucose) is the major source of energy for the body and comes from the food we eat.
The pancreas secretes a hormone known as insulin. It is this insulin that helps the body get the energy we need from the digested glucose. It helps the glucose to get into cells and used for energy.
For some people, the body has an insufficient amount of insulin. This limits the amount of supply to the cells and just reside in the bloodstream.
This insufficient amount of insulin in the body is what causes diabetes. Due to the insufficient amount of insulin in the body, the blood sugar in the body will increase, leading to diabetes.
Brief History of Diabetes
This disease was first described in the Egyptian manuscript as “too great emptying of urine” from c. 1500 BCE.
Around the same time, Indian physicians described the disease as madhumeha (honey urine). This was because the urine of patients attracted ants to it.
The term diabetes was first recorded in 230 BCE by the Greek Apollonius of Memphis.
Aretaeus of Cappadocia gave a more detailed reference of diabetes in the early 3rd century CE. He helped describe some symptoms of the disease.
Aretaeus also described the course of the disease and attributed them to moisture and coldness, reflecting the beliefs of the pneumatic school.
Effective treatment of diabetes was not developed until the early part of the 20th century. Frederick Banting and Charles Herbert Best isolated and purified insulin in 1921 and 1922. This was followed by the development of the long-acting insulin NPH in the 1940s.
Two Indian physicians, Sushruta and Charaka in 400 – 500 CE identified that Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes were two separate conditions. They discovered that type 1 diabetes was associated with youths, while type 2 was associated with being overweight.
John Rolle later added the term mellitus (from honey) in the late 1700’s. This term was used to separate the condition from diabetes insipidus.
The importance of insulin in the disease was determined in the 1920s.
Now, you have a brief knowledge about what diabetes is all about, let’s dive deeper and know the types of diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
There are basically two (2) types of diabetes, namely:
Type 1 Diabetes
This is a form of diabetes in which the body does not make any insulin at all. This is as a result of an auto-immune response that causes the body to destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
The type 1 diabetes accounts for about 10% of all diabetes cases. It is most common in children.
Normally, carbohydrate is broken down into glucose. The glucose moves into the bloodstream, but since there is no insulin produced, the glucose can not get into cells. This causes the blood sugar (glucose) in the body to rise above average.
The body tries to get rid of the glucose through the kidney. This causes patients to urinate frequently. The kidney loses a lot of water filtering the glucose and this causes patients to feel thirsty frequently.
The urine of patients contains glucose and this makes it easy for bacteria to thrive. This may lead to thrush (genital itching).
In the same way, the blood contains more glucose than usual. This leads to bacteria breeding in flesh wounds, causing them to be slow to heal.
Since glucose is unable to get into cells to be used for energy, patients will experience tiredness (lethargy).
Type 1 diabetic patients could also experience blurred vision. This is due to the build-up of glucose in the lens of the eyes, causing the liquid in the lens to become cloudy.
The body needs the energy to do work, so it starts breaking down its fat stores. This will lead to loss of weight in patients.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
- Frequent urination
- Thrush (genital itching)
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Slow healing of wounds
- Blurred vision
- Weight Loss
- Increased hunger
Best Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes
The best-known treatment for the type 1 diabetes is an insulin treatment. Patients are given an injection or an insulin pump. This forms the insulin therapy.
There is no known method of prevention for the type 1 diabetes.
Over 80,000 children suffer from the type 1 diabetes yearly. One (1) to three (3) million Americans suffer from this disease.
It typically begins in children and young adults. If untreated, it leads to complications. Short-term complications include:
- Nonketotic hyperosmolar coma
Long-term complications include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Damage to the eyes
- Foot ulcers
Furthermore, complications may arise from low blood sugar caused by excessive dosing of insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes
This is a long-term metabolic disorder. It accounts for about 90% of all diabetes cases.
The type 2 diabetes is most common in the over 40’s in the white population. It is also common in the over 25’s age group in the South Asian population. The type 2 diabetes primarily occurs as a result of obesity.
The type 2 diabetes is a more complex form of diabetes. It is either the body is not producing enough insulin, or the insulin produced is not working properly.
Glucose is unable to enter the body cells because the walls of the cells have been occupied by fat deposits. This then causes the level of blood sugar in the body to rise.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Sores that do not heal (slow healing of wounds)
- Increased hunger
- Thrust (genital itching)
- Blurred vision
The symptoms often come very slowly, and some people don’t experience any symptom at all.
Long-term complications of this disease may lead to diabetic retinopathy (which can result to blindness). It may also lead to stroke, heart disease, poor blood flow that may lead to amputation and kidney failure.
Ketoacidosis is uncommon in this type of disease but the sudden onset of hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state may occur.
Best Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed via blood tests such as fasting plasma glucose, oral glucose tolerance test (glycated hemoglobin (A1C)). Treatment involves regular exercise to lose fat and diabetes diet changes. The medication metformin adequately lowers the blood sugar.
Most people may require insulin injections. It is also very important for patients to check their blood sugar levels regularly.
Bariatric surgery often improves diabetes in those who are obese.
Type 2 diabetes reduces its patients life expectancy by ten (10) years. This type of disease can be prevented by regular exercise and good diabetes diet.
Diabetes Diet You DID NOT Know About
The best dietary changes that help in preventing diabetes include:
- Choosing good and healthy fats; e.g. polyunsaturate fats found in nuts, vegetable oils and fish.
- Regulating sugary intakes.
- Eating less red meat and other saturated fat related foods.
- Smoking cessation. Tobacco smoking increases the risk of diabetes and its complications.
- Protein-rich foods
- Chromium-rich foods
- Magnesium rich foods
There is no single dietary pattern best for all people with diabetes. For overweight people with type 2 diabetes, any diet that the person will adhere to achieve weight loss, is effective.
It is very important to note that, diabetes can not be cured, except in specific situations. Management of this disease focuses on keeping the blood sugar (glucose) as close to normal as possible.
Learning about this disease and actively participating in the treatment is very important. Complications are far less common and less severe in people who have well-managed blood sugar levels.
The goal of treating this disease is to maintain an HbA1C level of 6.5%.
In addition, specialized footwear reduces the risk of ulceration, or re-ulceration, in at-risk diabetic feet.
Best Diabetes Supplements and Medication
There are a number of different classes of anti-diabetic medications. Some are available by mouth, such as metformin, while others are only available by injection such as GLP-1 agonists.
Type 1 diabetes is treated only with insulin. Typically with a combination of regular and NPH insulin, or synthetic insulin analogs.
Metformin is generally recommended for type 2 diabetes. It shows good evidence of decreased mortality. Metformin works by decreasing the liver’s production of glucose.
Cardiovascular diseases are serious complications associated with diabetes. It is therefore advisable to keep the blood pressure levels below 130/80 mmHg.
Among medications that lower blood pressure, Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACEIs) improve outcomes in those with diabetes. Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) does not seem to improve outcomes.
Some other forms of diabetes medication may include:
Surgery in those with obesity and type two diabetes is often an effective medication. This measure maintains a normal blood sugar levels with little or no further medication. Surgery also helps to decrease mortality in patients. If patients are unable to control their weight and blood sugar (glucose), surgery is the best option.
A common form of surgery performed on type 2 diabetics is the bariatric surgery (reducing the size of the stomach).
A pancreas transplant is another form of medication. This form of medication is common among type 1 diabetics with severe complications. Patients can also undergo a kidney transplant.
- Chromium Picolinate: Chromium picolinate is generally recommended for type 2 diabetics. This is a nutritional supplement for treating type 2-diabetes. It helps patients to reduce weight.
- Psyllium: It helps lower cholesterol levels. Psyllium contains soluble fiber that helps in slowing down the rise in blood sugar.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is another healthy diabetes supplement. It is a compound that contains hydroxychalcone. Hydroxychalcone helps to improve the absorption of blood sugar into cells by stimulating insulin receptors.
- Omega-3s: Omega-3s helps to reduce inflammation and clogging of the arteries. It also decreases off-rhythm heartbeats.
- Vitamin D Supplements:
- Magnesium Supplements: One in few people with diabetes may be low in magnesium. Patients can be treated with magnesium-rich supplements, but it is important to note that excess magnesium can be lethal.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA): Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant supplement that neutralizes high leveled cell-damaging free radicals that go with high blood sugar. It also helps to make nerves less sensitive to pain. So for diabetics baring pains in fingers, feet or toes, this supplement could be of great help to you.
Diabetics should avoid supplements like fenugreek and bitter melon. Patients should contact a medical personnel before taking any medication. This is to avoid further complications.
So with all these said, I leave it to you to answer the question, “Does sugar really cause diabetes”? Let me know what you think by commenting in the comment box.