DIABETES

DIABETES

What is diabetes?

  • Diabetes mellitus is a disease that affects how your body uses sugar in your blood (glucose).

  • Glucose is the main energy source for your brain. It is also an important source of energy for the formation of your muscles and tissues.

  • A type of hormone in your body called insulin assists your body's glucose absorption process for muscle and tissue formations. Insulin is released by the pancreas (a type of organ within the body).

  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common diabetic disorder.

  • Type 2 diabetes occurs when there is less insulin in your body. Thus, the body is unable to process and use glucose. As a result, there is a high sugar accumulation in the blood.

What are the indications?

Among the signs that you may have type 2 diabetes are:

  • Irritability

  • Extreme hunger

  • Loss of weight out of a sudden

  • Always thirsty

  • Easy to get an infection (such as on gum, skin or vagina)

  • Urinating too often

  • Always fatigued

  • Natural healing of any wounds become slower

  • Blurred vision 

Position of pancreas within body

Always feeling fatigued is a sign of having diabetes

What are the causes?

Among the causes of type 2 diabetes are:

  • Aging: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases as you age.

  • Personal history or family with type 2 diabetes: If you or anyone with blood relations with you ever had type 2 diabetes, your risk of developing it will increase.​​

  • Obesity: Being fat increases the risk of having type 2 diabetes.

  • Not being active: A less active body is more likely to get type 2 diabetes.​

  • High blood sugar level.

  • High cholesterol level in the body.

How to avoid & control it?

The steps that can be taken to prevent type 2 diabetes are:

  • It is ideal to do yearly blood sugar tests with your doctor as an adult. If you have high blood sugar level, you need to do the tests more often based on your doctor's advice.

  • Exercise regularly to lose weight and maintain body health.

  • Eat high fiber, low fat and low calorie foods:

    • Vegetables

    • Fruits

    • Cereals (mainly oats)

    • Lean meat and chicken

    • Low-fat dairy products

Blood test to check blood sugar level

How it is detected?

If you have any signs of type 2 diabetes that have been mentioned, discuss with the doctor about your specific situation. With the advice of a doctor, you can decide whether the screening method is right for you.

Type 2 diabetes is detected using:

  • Blood tests: Your blood sample will be taken and analyzed to detect blood sugar content. Your doctor may recommend you to fast overnight before taking the blood test.

How it is treated?

Discuss with your doctor what type of treatment is best for your specific situation.

Among the methods to treat type 2 diabetes are:

Take medications if you have diabetes

  • Monitor your blood sugar levels: Precise monitoring through blood tests to keep sugar levels within the target range. Your doctor will recommend the frequency of the tests to be performed based on your condition.​

  • Medications: Some diabetic drugs stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin or suppress the production of glucose from your liver.​

  • Insulin injection: Should be taken if it is ineffective to lower the blood sugar content by just consuming diabetic drugs.

When do you need to see a doctor?

  • Make an appointment with your doctor if you recognize signs of diabetes.

  • Each hospital has different methods for screening diabetes.

  • Discuss the diabetes screening with your doctor. Together with a physician, you can decide what is best for you.

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How to get ready with your appointments?

For your preparation, a medical specialist may ask you some questions as follows:

  • Are the signs of your illness occurring continuously or occasionally?

  • How severe are the illness signs on your body?

  • Since when did you begin to experience the signs of the illness?

  • Do you have family members who have had the disease?

  • What triggers the signs of your illness to be more severe? (if any)

  • What do you usually do to relieve any signs of your illness?

 

What you can do to prepare before the appointment is:

  • List the signs of your illness.

  • Know any restriction that needs to be done before the appointment. Make sure to ask first what to do before appointment (such as limiting your diet, etc.).

  • List all the medicines, vitamins or supplements you consume.

  • If possible, invite family members or friends to be with you. Sometimes we find it difficult to remember all the information during the appointment. Your companion might just help you with this.

  • List your personal information that can help your doctor in investigating your illness (such as major stresses in your life or any changes in your life recently).

  • List all the questions you would like to ask your doctor.

Here are some general questions that you can ask your doctor:

  • What are the possible causes for signs of illness that appear on me?

  • What method of screening should I take? Do I need to make any necessary arrangements before doing the screening?

  • What is the severity of my illness?

  • Should I get a second doctor's opinion of my condition?

  • What are the treatment options that are suitable for my condition?

  • Are there any side effects for each treatment?

  • How does each treatment option affect my daily life?

  • How big is my possibility of getting completely healed from the disease if I undergo the treatment?

  • Do I need to undergo the treatment immediately without delay?

  • How long will the treatment last?

  • How often should I get examined after treatment?

  • What are the complications that I need to face in the future?

  • What other alternatives are available apart from the medicines you prescribed? (if any)

  • Do I need to make any changes to my lifestyle? What nutrition and level of activity are appropriate for my condition?

  • What else can I do to protect my health?

  • I have other health problems. How can I best manage this situation?

If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask the doctor during your appointment.

 

 

Updated: March 16, 2019

References:

  1. Papadakis, Maxine A., McPhee, Stephen J., Rabow, Michael W. CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment. 58th ed. McGraw Hill Professional, 2018.

  2. Beirman, Robin., Engel, Roger. An A-Z of Symptoms and Signs. Palgrave Macmillan Australia, 2009.

  3. Porter, Robert S. The Merck Manual of Patient Symptoms: A Concise, Practical Guide to Etiology, Evaluation and Treatment. Wiley, 2008.

  4. Griffith, Henry W. Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness & Surgery. 3rd ed. Body Press/Perigree Books, 1995.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Diabetes. [https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/home/index.html]. Accessed 13 March 2019.

  6. National Health Service. 2019. Diabetes. [https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/]. Accessed 17 March 2019.

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