What is Diabetes?


Dr Anup


(Bihar Times) Diabetes is commonly known as ‘high sugar’ problem. Currently a fasting blood glucose (sugar) level of 126mg% or more is defined as diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

When the fasting blood sugar ranges between 101 and 125 mg% it is called prediabetes. It is an important condition as it gives an opportunity to prevent full blown diabetes through lifestyle modification.

Why does diabetes occur?

Much of what we eat is converted to glucose, also loosely called sugar. To use this sugar our body needs insulin. When there is lack of insulin, this sugar can not be utilized by the body and diabetes occurs.

Why do symptoms occur in diabetes?

Symptoms in diabetes occur because of accumulated high blood sugar and lack of sugar utilization by the body.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

High blood sugar causes excess urination, excess thirst, difficulty in vision, increased chances of infections. Inability of body to use glucose causes excessive hunger, irritability, confusion, weakness, tiredness and weight loss that can be dangerous.

Why is diabetes important?

Diabetes can cause serious complications that can cause debility and even early death. Additionally it can cause severe economic burden to the patient and the government. One in ten of us will get diabetes. That means either we will need to take care of ourselves, our loved ones or our friends and family who will have diabetes. That is why it is important to know about diabetes

Can diabetes be prevented and cured?

Our body makes insulin. Diabetes occurs due to lack of insulin. Depending on the extent of need for additional insulin by an individual, in some cases diabetes can be prevented and in some cured. That is in very small percentage of patients only. Do not be fooled by false claims of cure for diabetes.

What are the complications of diabetes?

Complications of diabetes can be life threatening and include low blood sugar, high blood sugar, ketosis, acidosis, sepsis, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. Other complications of diabetes can be debilitating and include blindness, foot amputation, impaired kidney function, nerve problems and impotence.

Can complications of diabetes be prevented?

Yes. All the complications of diabetes can be prevented if the correct management for diabetes starts early enough. Even if the correct management starts late in most cases further significant deterioration can be prevented.

Can a diabetic live a normal life?

Yes. With advances in therapy a diabetic can live as normal a life as a non-diabetic. To achieve that, the patient should fully understand diabetes, its course and complications. For the best outcomes they should also know where they stand in reference to the best available care for this disease in the world. Just going to a doctor and taking medicines is not enough.

Is urine sugar testing the best way to mange diabetes?

No. Regular and frequent (daily) blood sugar testing is the best way to manage one’s diabetes. Urine shows glucose (sugar) when it is over 180mg% in the blood. Much harm can happen when blood sugar is between 140 and 180 mg% on long term basis. Also morning urine gives an average of all night’s urine. Blood sugar testing is therefore the best way to manage your diabetes.

What is the most important number in diabetes?

Blood sugar testing gives blood level of sugar for that one moment when the blood was taken for testing. Another important test gives an average of blood sugar readings over the past three months. That is called A1C and is even more important than a single blood sugar reading as it is shown to correlate with complications of diabetes in a patient. Normal level is 6.5 in the absence of episodes of low blood sugars.

Are there any other numbers a diabetic should know?

Most diabetics die early due to a heart attack that occurs at a younger age in diabetics. To prevent a heart attack one must control in addition to blood sugar and A1C, the blood pressure and the LDL (bad Cholesterol). They should not smoke and keep the good cholesterol (HDL) high.