How do I manage my diabetes?
What is diabetes?
Our body needs fuel to function. Most of this fuel is available as sugars obtained from your food, transported in your blood. The blood sugar levels are controlled by hormones produced in the pancreas. Too little glucose and the body’s organs are unable to function properly. This can result in drowsiness, coma, and if not treated properly it can even cause death. High levels of glucose can also cause problems, as the sugars cause damage to the blood vessels, nerves and eyes.
Diabetes is a condition in which your body is unable to control your blood sugar levels. There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: the body’s immune cells attack and destroy the cells responsible for making insulin.
Type 2 diabetes: the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells are no longer responsive to insulin. This is the most common form.
During pregnancy, the woman’s body may produce high levels of blood glucose that the body cannot manage with insulin or absorb quickly enough. This can result in gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Commons symptoms you should be aware of include
- Feeling thirsty often
- Needing to go urinate more often, especially at night
- Feeling tired
- Frequent infections including UTIs or thrush
More serious and unmanaged diabetes can cause problems with your eyesight, loss of feeling in your hands and feet, and frequent ulcers in your feet.
Type 1 diabetics can experience more severe symptoms if they don’t take their insulin. Their blood sugars can rise uncontrolled, but they also produce acids as their body tries to function without insulin. This can cause them to fall into a coma.
How do I manage my diabetes?
Some people may have high blood sugars above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. This is known as pre-diabetes. At this point you are at risk of getting diabetes if you do not control your blood sugars through diet and exercise.
What is the best way to treat or control diabetes?
Managing diabetes depends on the type of diabetes you have been diagnosed with
Type 1: because your pancreas no longer makes insulin, you will need to inject insulin to control your blood sugar. They may require insulins that act for different lengths of time.
Type 2: with this type of diabetes your blood sugars can be managed in different ways, depending on how advanced your disease is. If caught early diabetes can be managed with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
The medications you are given will help control your blood sugars in different ways. At first, you will be offered metformin, a medication that has few side effects and is helpful for most people.
If this is not enough you may require further combinations of medications. Insulin is only needed in severe cases of type 2 diabetes that are not controlled well.
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