This blog is for people suffering from diabetes or for those who want to learn about the disease.
The goal is to clarify certain questions about this condition and guide people on appropriate lifestyle changes that can improve the patient’s quality of life.
What is diabetes?
It is the dysregulation of the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids generated by the decrease in insulin production and / or its resistance in various body tissues (muscle, liver and fatty tissue).
What causes diabetes?
As we will explain later, there are different factors that generate the onset of the disease, all or some of them join to contribute to the damage of the beta cells of the pancreas, generating a decrease in the production of insulin which is the hormone in – charged with regulating or lowering glucose (“sugar”) in the blood. In addition, when the person has a high body mass index (overweight or obesity), the little insulin that is produced does not manage to regulate glucose in the blood, which leads to glucose accumulating in the blood and causing damage in the smallest arteries throughout the body, predominantly in the retina, heart, and kidneys.
how many types of diabetes are there?
Existen 4 grandes tipos grandes de diabetes mellitus:
Type I diabetes mellitus: It is due to an autoimmune disorder that destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, usually begins in adolescence, it is rather rare.
Type II diabetes mellitus: It is due to resistance to the action of insulin in different tissues of the body, associated with the decrease in insulin production, it is the most frequent.
Gestational diabetes: It is diabetes that is discovered for the first time during pregnancy, is due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and usually starts after week 22.
Other types: They are very rare, due to genetic alterations or as a secondary event to other diseases.
What symptoms does Diabetes produce?
Initially you can be asymptomatic, symptoms occur when glucose levels are already very high, and they are:
Abundant urine (polyuria)
Feeling thirsty (polydipsia)
Increased desire to eat (polyphagia)
Unexplained weight loss
How is diabetes diagnosed?
Diabetes can be diagnosed by different glucose tests including:
Glucose measured after a sugar load
Glycosylated hemoglobin (It is a substance in the blood that makes it possible to have knowledge about the blood glucose levels of the last 3 months).
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a stage prior to the frank onset of diabetic disease, sugar levels are high but not enough to consider that the person suffers from diabetes. It is characterized by impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose after consumption of a load of sugar.
It is always recommended to perform:
Aerobic and / or resistance physical exercise approximately 150 minutes a week, which can be divided into 5 sessions. The capacity of each person must always be taken into account.
Decrease in the consumption of processed sugars (if you want to sweeten something, you can do it with splenda, although a low consumption of this type of sweetener is preferred)
Limit salt intake (to prevent other diseases)
Consumption of a Mediterranean diet (focused on seafood and nuts)
Changes in diet must be acomplished not only by the patient, but also by his family nucleus.
Consumption of adequate amount of water
No alcohol consumption
Don’t smoke cigarettes
In case of overweight or obesity, weight loss is recommended.
Insulin and myths
As previously said, insulin is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas in such a way that when the body can no longer produce more insulin it is necessary to replace it externally with subcutaneous injections of insulin, it is not the first drug used in diabetes, but if glucose levels are not lowered with oral medications it becomes a necessary medication.
It must be taken into account that insulin does not cause damage in any organ, but uncontrolled high glucose causes damages in the respective organs.
Diabetes is a disease that, although dangerous, is manageable, as long as the person is willing to abandon the behaviors that harm them and follow the diet and measures that both here and in your consultation with your family doctor will explain.
DeFronzo, R. A., Ferrannini, E., Groop, L., Henry, R. R., Herman, W. H., Holst, J. J., … & Simonson, D. C. (2015). Type 2 diabetes melli-tus. Nature reviews Disease primers, 1(1), 1-22
Forero, A. Y., Hernández, J. A., Rodríguez, S. M., Romero, J. J., Morales, G. E., & Ramírez, G. Á. (2018). La alimentación para pa-cientes con diabetes mellitus de tipo 2 en tres hospitales públicos de Cundinamarca, Colombia. Biomédica, 38(3), 355-362
Guías ALAD sobre el Diagnóstico, Control y Tratamiento de la Dia-betes Mellitus Tipo 2 con Medicina Basada en Evidencia Edición 2019
Imágenes: Imagen de zachvanstone8 en Pixabay.