A Malady Called Diabetes Mellitus

Author(s): Dr. Aarti MishraThe theme for World Diabetes Day 2019 and Diabetes Awareness Month is Family and Diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is promoting the role of family in the prevention...

A Malady Called Diabetes Mellitus
A Malady Called Diabetes Mellitus

The theme for World Diabetes Day 2019 and Diabetes Awareness Month is Family and Diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is promoting the role of family in the prevention and management of diabetes in a person and is raising awareness about the impact that diabetes has on a person’s family and support system.


Symptoms of Diabetes:

A research conducted by International Diabetes Federation in 2018 found that four in five parents had trouble recognizing the warning symptoms of diabetes in their own children. This reveals that it is important to educate people in spotting the warning signs of diabetes since untreated diabetes can cause complications like heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation of limbs. Some common symptoms of Diabetes are increase in thirst, increased hunger and increase in the frequency of urination; dry mouth, fatigue and unexplained weight loss.


The World Diabetes Day 2019 focuses on 3 main areas-

a)       Discover Diabetes

b)        Prevent Type 2 Diabetes  &

c)    Manage Diabetes 

Detection of Diabetes

About 212 million cases of diabetes all over the world (one in two) remain undiagnosed. Therefore, routine screening of type 2 diabetes should be done at the age of 40 years, especially if you are overweight. If risk factors like a family history of type 2 diabetes; sedentary lifestyle; high blood pressure and history of gestational diabetes are present, screening for type 2 diabetes is also recommended for people, who are below 40 years of age and overweight. Some other risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes are unhealthy diet and consuming high sugar foods especially sugar-sweetened beverages.

 Effect of Diabetes on the Family

The latest research from International Diabetes Federation (IDF) questioned seven thousand people in 7 countries about diabetes and found that 51% people living with diabetes felt that their being diagnosed as a Diabetic had put a strain on their family. 43% people said they felt anxious when they were diagnosed with diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the pancreas is not able to produce insulin or when the body cannot properly use the insulin produced by pancreas. This leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (hyperglycemia). Diabetes is mainly of three types.


a)    Type 1 diabetesIt usually occurs in children or young adults and is caused by an auto-immune reaction, in which the body’s defense system attacks the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin.


Management of Type 1 Diabetes

People with Type 1 Diabetes require daily insulin injection, regular monitoring of blood glucose and a healthy diet & lifestyle in order to manage their condition effectively and avoid or delay the onset of complications associated with diabetes.


b)    Type 2 diabetesType 2 Diabetes or adult-onset diabetes accounts for 90% of all cases of diabetes and is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes is usually detected when a routine blood test is done, otherwise it may remain undiagnosed for many years.

Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes

According to International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 80% cases of Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle changes. Randomized controlled trials from various parts of the world including USA, Finland, India and China have proved that lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and physical activity can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

         Management of Type 2 Diabetes

The foundation of management of type 2 diabetes is a healthy diet, increase in physical activity and maintenance of a healthy body weightOral medication & insulin are also frequently required to control blood glucose levels.

A healthy diet for diabetics includes reducing the intake of calories in overweight people, substituting saturated fats with unsaturated fats and avoiding added sugar, tobacco and excessive alcohol.   .

 c) Gestational diabetesThis is a form of diabetes in which, a woman develops high blood glucose level during pregnancyGDM occurs in one in 25 pregnancies globally and causes complications to both the mother and the childGestational Diabetes usually disappears after pregnancy, but women with GDM and their children have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.  About 50% women with a history of GDM develop type 2 diabetes within 5-10 years of delivery.

To conclude, people with diabetes can live a long and healthy life with proper diabetes management. This includes managing blood glucose levels as well as risk factors for complications such as high B.P and high cholesterol.


(Dr. Aarti Mishra is a Medical Communications Specialist based in Ludhiana)


Saturday, November 16, 2019