In medical terms, diabetes is a condition, in which a person has a high blood sugar (glucose) level than a normal healthy person. Insulin is a hormone, produced in pancreas, which turns this glucose into energy by enabling the body cells to absorb it. If body cells do not absorb this glucose for some reason, it starts accumulating in the blood leading to a condition called hyperglycaemia or diabetes.
There are mainly three types of diabetes:
Diabetes Type 1: Diabetes 1 is a result of the body not producing enough insulin to cope with the glucose level in the blood. In North America and Europe, one in ten diabetics suffers from the diabetes type 1. People with diabetes type 1 need to take insulin shots twice or thrice daily to keep them going. However, this occurs very rarely and can be treated. Along with injections, a healthy diet and regular exercise is strongly recommended.
Diabetes Type 2: Diabetes 2 isalso known as insulin resistance diabetes. It is a condition in which body cells do not respond to the insulin. Insulin is there, but ineffective. This type is by far the most common and affects 90%-95% of the US and UK adult diabetic population.
Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes occurs in some women in their pregnancy. Some of them have never had diabetes before. However, it is fully treatable and usually resolves after delivery but requires complete medical supervision and careful diet for diabetes. Gestational diabetes may precede development of diabetes type 2 later in life. As per a recent population study, gestation diabetes affects 4% of all pregnancies. About 20%-50% of affected women develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Diabetes symptoms can vary from person to person. In both types of diabetes (type 1 and type 2), these symptoms are likely to be similar. Normally, these include:
- Blurred vision
- Weight loss
- Poor healing of the wounds
- Excessive urination and thirst
- Swollen ankles
- Foul taste of mouth
Severe dehydration can result in coma. Overtime, it may damage the nerves and small blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys and heart. It may cause hardening of arteries which can eventually lead to heart attack.
All types of diabetes have been treatable since insulin became medically available in 1921, but a cure is difficult. Pancreas transplants have been tried with limited success in diabetes type 1. Many kinds of medicines are prescribed by the doctors to control the diabetes. However, with proper diabetic diet and lifestyle, it can be controlled to a large extent.
Type 2 diabetes is often caused by the obesity which is the acute problem of today’s society. Among the world population afflicted by diabetes, 90% of them are found to be obese. So these patients are generally put on 1500-1800 calories per day to promote weight loss. However, a common dietary regimen can be followed by every diabetic patient to stay healthy.
What to Eat: Wholegrain cereals, oatmeal, egg white, boiled meats, all vegetables, tomatoes, salad, herbal tea, low fat microwave popcorns, yoghurt, a lot of water. Fruits in Diabetic Diet: Fibre rich fruits like apple, coconut, watermelon, strawberry, papaya, plums, melons, cherries, kiwi fruit, pineapple, guava, lemon, orange, grapefruit.
What not to Eat: All kind of sugary foods and drinks, juices, refined grains, yolk, pancakes, donuts, pastries, fast food, cookies, chips, alcohol, ice cream, potatoes, candies and chocolates. Try to avoid non-vegetarian food as much as possible because of its high calories. But, if not possible, their fat content must be included in the allowed fats.
Fruits Prohibited in Diabetic Diet: Fruits with high sugar content like mango, banana, chikoo (sapodilla), grapes and dates. No fruit juices. Dry fruits are also not recommended due to high fat content.
“Diabetes Mellitus,” by Dr. Ruchi Mathur (MD), MedicineNet.com, accessed 11 August 2010
“Gestational Diabetes,” DiabetesInformationHub, accessed 11 August 2010
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.