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Diabetes Frequently Asked Questions – DietCare Ghana

Diabetes Frequently Asked Questions

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Global rise in the prevalence of diabetes

There has been a global rise in the prevalence of diabetes in recent times. In 2016, WHO had  it focus on diabetes for the World Health Day celebration. In this article  we would  learn more  differences between diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus which is uncommon and also consider some frequently asked questions about diabetes.

Insulin and Diabetes

Anytime we  eat, our body digest the food and  turns it into sugar (glucose).

Whenever the food is turned into glucose , our pancreas is supposed to release insulin.  Insulin serves as a “key” to open our cells, to allow the glucose to enter and allow us to use the glucose for energy.When this  system fails to work, then diabetes is said to set in.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia (increased blood glucose), polyuria (excessive  and frequent urination), polydipsia (excessive thirst) and polyphagia (increased appetite). This is caused by under secretion of insulin by the beta cells of the pancreas or lack of insulin.

Types of Diabetes

In general term diabetes refers to  ‘’diabetes mellitus’’  of which there are 3 types ; type I diabetes , type II diabetes and gestational diabetes.  Diabetes insipidus is a very uncommon type of diabetes.
While the names diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus sound similar, they are not the same.

Type I Diabetes

It occurs due to an autoimmune destruction of beta cells of the pancreas resulting in deficient production of insulin by the pancreas. It can occur at any age but is most common in children and young adults. It is characterized by insulin deficiency in the body.

Type II Diabetes

This is the most common form of diabetes in the world. It is a long term metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood sugar,insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin. It contributes to 90 percent of cases of diabetes

Gestational diabetes

It is a condition characterised by an elevated blood sugar above normal that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes prior to pregnancy.

Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed when an individual has a fasting plasma glucose level of over 7.0 mmol/l, plasma glucose of over 11.1 mmol/l two hours after a 75g oral glucose intake, or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) of more than 6.5%.
Diabetes mellitus has long-term complications if poorly managed. It doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, as well as chronic kidney disease.

Diabetes Insipidus

It is a rare form of diabetes caused by a deficiency of the pituitary hormone vasopressin, which regulates kidney function. Diabetes insipidus is characterized by extreme thirst (especially for cold water ) and excessive urination. However, the urine does not contain glucose.
There is no cure for diabetes, however it can be managed to relieve you of high volumes of urine output and as well achieve a controlled blog glucose levels.

Diabetes Frequently Asked Questions

What causes diabetes?

Diabetes is caused by under secretion of insulin by the beta cells of the pancreas or lack of insulin.

What are the types of diabetes?

The main types of diabetes are :
a. Type I Diabetes

 b. Type  II Diabetes

c. Gestational Diabetes

d. Diabetes Insipidus

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The following symptoms are common to both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
a. Frequent and unusual urination particularly at night.
b. Excessive Thirst.
c. Fatigue
d. Unexplained weight loss.
e. Slow wound healing

How can I know if I have diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed when you have a fasting blood sugar (FBS) level of over 7.0 mmol/l, plasma glucose of over 11.1 mmol/l two hours after a 75g oral glucose intake, or glycated hemoglobin of more than 6.5%. This can be identified through a simple  laboratory test .

What should be the normal sugar level?

Normal blood sugar levels for the majority of healthy individuals are as follows:
Fasting Blood Sugar(FBS) between 4.0 to 6.0 mmol/L (72 to 108 mg/dL) when fasting.

Maximum of 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) 2 hours after eating.

How is diabetes managed?

Diabetes is managed through proper nutrition, exercise and if needed, medication. People with diabetes must use home tests to monitor the levels of sugar in their blood. Steps are then taken to keep the levels of blood sugar as normal as possible.

It is important for every physician who is seeing a diabetic patient to refer their client to a dietitian for a nutrition consult which would help compliment the medication the patient is taking ,if any. Nutrition intervention is considered an essential component in the management of diabetes.

Researchers have studied diabetes patient education extensively. It has shown that patient education is effective in improving knowledge, skills, psychosocial adjustment, and metabolic control . Overall, evidence from many types of studies involving nutrition therapy in the management of diabetes is supportive of nutrition intervention.

The American Diabetes Association has recognized the value of medical nutrition therapy and considers it an essential component of diabetes management

Diabetes can be well managed and blood sugar well controlled with dietary regimen, exercise and sometimes medication.There are a number of medications used in the management of diabetes .To manage diabetes effectively consult your physician and registered dietitian for the appropriate expert advice.

Do you have any other questions about diabetes?  Share your thoughts with us below!

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