Joined: 21 March 2011
This causes glucose to build up in the blood instead of moving into the cells. Hyperglycaemia and other related disturbances in the body's metabolism can lead to serious damage to major health problems like:
The key to avoiding these complications is early diagnosis, effective treatment and good self-management.
There are two basic forms of diabetes:
People with this type of diabetes produce very little or no insulin. People with type 1 diabetes require daily injections of insulin to survive.
It develops when the body still produces some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin no longer works properly. This is the type that affects the vast majority of diabetics (over 75%).
People with this type of diabetes cannot use insulin effectively. People with type 2 diabetes can sometimes manage their condition with lifestyle measures alone, but oral drugs are often required, and less frequently insulin, in order to achieve good metabolic control.
Most people with diabetes have type 2. Many of them have no symptoms and are only diagnosed after many years of onset. As a consequence, almost half of all people with type 2 diabetes are not aware that they have this life-threatening condition.
Diabetes is a progressive condition, which means that it is likely to get worse over time (though this progression can be slowed down with treatment). Studies have also shown that people who begin taking medication as soon as they need it are less likely to suffer diabetic complications.
Primary prevention, healthy diet and regular physical activity, protects susceptible individuals. It has an impact by reducing or delaying both the need for diabetes care and the need to treat diabetes complications. It should be emphasized particularly in the poorest regions of the world where resources are severely limited.
Secondary prevention includes early detection and good treatment. The treatment of high blood pressure and raised blood lipids, as well as the control of blood glucose levels, can substantially reduce the risk of developing complications and slow their progression. Large, population-based studies in China, Canada, USA and several European countries suggest that even moderate reduction in weight and half an hour of walking each day reduced the incidence of diabetes by more than one half in overweight subjects with mild Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT).
Treating Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetics have to rely on daily insulin injections for the rest of their lives. Because insulin is destroyed by the digestive juices in the stomach it cannot be taken by mouth and must be injected. Typically, Type 1 diabetics inject insulin two or four times a day.
As well as controlling blood glucose levels, there is growing emphasis on keeping blood pressure levels within normal limits, using tablets if necessary. In addition to insulin injections and, where needed, blood pressure tablets, Type 1 diabetics must eat a healthy diet and should stay physically active.
Treating Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetics can manage their diabetes in a number of ways:
Here's what you need to do:
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