Diabetes affects approximately 1.2 million people in Australia, and yet, it is one of the most commonly misunderstood diseases.
Prevention begins with information. The International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) has declared November 14th of every year as “World Diabetes Day.” Each year, an awareness campaign is being run globally to promote awareness about the life-threatening disease.
In honour of the upcoming celebration of World Diabetes Day 2020, we are sharing these five tips on diabetes that will help you understand the condition a little better.
But before we further discuss such tips, let’s understand what this condition is all about.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic illness in which the cells in our body cannot utilise the glucose in the blood for energy or lose its capacity to make insulin at all. Insulin helps extract glucose from the food we intake, and glucose flows in our bloodstream and creates energy in our body. Therefore, diabetes can result in high blood sugar levels and can be fatal in the long run.
Diabetes is also known as a ‘silent killer’ as it can cause blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and more. In short, it is a disease that causes other diseases.
Diabetes is also one of the chief reasons for death worldwide. Diabetes is mainly four types – Type 1, Type 2, Borderline, and Gestational Diabetes.
- 1 in 11 people lives with diabetes.
- An estimated 422 million people worldwide have diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1 diabetes.
- Only 1 in 4 family members worldwide have sufficient knowledge about diabetes.
With those statistics in mind, let’s proceed with 6 tips for understanding diabetes.
1. People with diabetes can live a long and healthy life.
Starting on a positive note, people with diabetes can live a long, healthy, normal life when their condition is detected and well-managed. There are a series of cost-effective interventions you can apply to help people diagnosed with diabetes manage their condition.
A combination of diet, physical activity, and necessary medication can help blood glucose control and maintain proper blood pressure. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular risk such as cardiac arrest.
It is recommended that people with diabetes undergo regular eye screening and kidney and feet to facilitate early treatment.
2. Diabetes has more than one type.
As mentioned earlier, there are several types of diabetes. But the two main types are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system kills off insulin-producing cells. There is no known cause for this type, but researchers believe it is a combination of genetics and an unknown environmental component.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease heavily influenced by genetics, societal risk factors, and lifestyle issues such as obesity.
It is important to know the specific type of diabetes, especially its cause.
3. There is a third type of diabetes.
Aside from those 2, there is what you call gestational diabetes characterised by hyperglycemia or raised blood sugar during pregnancy.
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of complications in both the pregnancy and delivery stages. There is also an increased risk of causing type 2 diabetes to their children in the future.
4. Early diagnosis and intervention are the keys.
As they say, the earlier, the better. The longer a person goes undiagnosed and untreated, the worse their overall health outcomes are likely to be. Consult your doctor or nearest primary health care if you have a family history of diabetes or somehow experiencing signs and symptoms of diabetes.
5. Diabetes symptoms can be observed.
Diabetes symptoms may vary depending on whether it’s high or low. High blood sugar symptoms usually include thirst, excessive urination, and nausea. While low blood pressure is characterised by a feeling of weakness, dizziness, and excessive hunger.
6. There is first aid for someone who is having a diabetic emergency.
In a diabetic emergency, the person’s blood sugar level can be too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia). When this happens, determine which type of diabetes emergency they are likely experiencing.
If the person has eaten and not taken their medication, hyperglycemia is likely the case.
If someone has not eaten but taken their medication, they may have hypoglycemia.
First aid intervention is the same for both types of diabetic emergencies. It is easier to treat hypoglycemia, so first, try giving the person something sugary and see if it helps.
Stay with the person and reassure them until their condition gradually improves. If they do not improve, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
Eat healthy, live active, and learn first aid.
Let’s make a start on World’s Diabetes Day!