What causes diabetes?
There are two types of
Diabetes; Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s
immune system starts to destroy beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Insulin
plays a major role in controlling the body’s blood sugar levels. This renders
the body incapable of producing insulin which causes diabetes; also known as
Early diagnosis and prevention can help slow down the damage and retain normal insulin production. It is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the glucose levels in your body spike, also known as Hyperglycemia. The body needs glucose for energy and the pancreas help convert this glucose into energy by producing insulin, which is a hormone. The causes of diabetes can be any of the following;
- Family history of diabetes
- Environmental factors
- Unhealthy Diet
What causes Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is usually seen in adults as opposed to children, but reports show that more and more children are being affected by this disease. Type 2 diabetes is said to occur when to body becomes resistant to insulin. This means that the body becomes incapable of using insulin as it should. To elaborate, it means that your body may be able to produce insulin, but is unable to break the glucose down, resulting in a glucose build up in the body. Genetics and lifestyle are some of the most common causes of type 2 diabetes.
The causes of type 2 diabetes include various factors such as:
- Lack of exercise
- Poor food habits
- Family History
The causes of gestational diabetes remains unknown, but is said to occur if the mother or fetus is overweight, or if the mother is diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome. Another cause of gestational diabetes is the placental hormones that help a baby develop. These hormones cause insulin resistance in the mother’s body, causing diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
In many cases Diabetes can go undiagnosed for several days due to lack of symptoms. There are many symptoms to look out for. The symptoms may differ for men and woman, however, some of the symptoms are common for both. Common symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Frequent Urination
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Constant thirst and hunger
- Dry mouth
Rise in Diabetes in Trinidad
Statistics show that there are more than 200,000 people living with diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago. According to the Diabetes association of T&T, this figure is seeing a rapid increase. The disease is on the rise and there are many measures put in place by the Government to curb the rapid spread of it. The authorities are trying to bring about a change in the outlook of the people by creating awareness and educating them about the effects of diabetes.
Schools have stopped the sale of sugary drinks to help prevent juvenile diabetes. The powers that be are assessing the situation and are doing everything they can to negate the rapid spread of diabetes before it spirals out of control. They are encouraging healthy eating habits and regular exercise to maintain good health and prevent diabetes. People with diabetes and prediabetes should take cognizance of the issue and proactively run regular health checks and live healthy in order to prevent the disease. Education is the only way to prevent this chronic disease.
HB A1C or Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test:
This test measures the percentage of your hemoglobin that is covered with sugar. Hemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen. This test indicates the average blood sugar levels for the past three months. A1c below 5.7 is considered normal. Anything >5.7and <6.4 indicates prediabetes. A diabetic patient will have A1C levels exceeding 6.5
Random plasma glucose (RPG) test:
An RPG can be done at any given time and does not need for the patient to have fasted. A person with a random blood sugar level of 200 milligrams per or higher is considered diabetic.
Fasting blood sugar test
A blood sample is drawn after 12 hours of fasting. If the blood sugar level is > 126 mg/dL you have diabetes.
Oral glucose tolerance test:
This test is commonly used during pregnancy for diagnosing gestational diabetes. It includes 2 separate tests. The first sample is drawn post a 12 hour fast and the second after consuming food. A blood sugar level less than 140 mg/dL is normal. A reading of more than 200 mg/dL after two hours indicates diabetes.
Treatment and Care for Diabetes
Your treatment will start after diagnosing your condition. Treatments differ for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Usually insulin and oral medications are used for the treatment of diabetes. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regulating your diet will also play an important role in the treatment of diabetes. Depending on the type of diabetes you have been diagnosed with, your Caregiver will prescribe certain medications and will ask you to refrain from certain food groups.
It is important to check your sugar levels frequently and visit you doctor at regular intervals. Screening and prevention of diabetes is the only way to curb the deadly disease, and there is no one better than you to take ownership of your own health and well-being.
If you need to get yourself tested for Diabetes then book an appointment with medical professionals at Ames Medical Services.