Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot properly use and store glucose. Food, when eaten, gets broken down into a form of sugar called glucose. Glucose enters the bloodstream and goes to the surrounding cells where it is used as energy.

Insulin is a hormone that ensures the body's energy needs are met. When the body doesn't make enough insulin, or doesn't properly use its insulin, diabetes can develop. Glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can lead to serious health problems such as blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, amputation, nerve damage and erectile dysfunction.

There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in children and adolescents, occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Approximately 10 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, 2 and gestational diabetes which is a temporary condition that can develop during pregnancy.

Type 1 and 2 diabetes will be explained further in the following sections.

References:
  1. International Diabetes Federation. About Diabetes [Online]. Available from:www.idf.org (Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)
  2. Joslin Diabetes Center. General Diabetes Facts and Information [Online]. Available from: www.joslin.org/info/general_diabetes_facts_and_information.html(Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)
  3. Malaysian Diabetes Association. What is diabetes [Online]. Available from: www.diabetes.org.my (Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)

 

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1diabetes mellitus or more commonly referred just as type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents. It occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Less than 1% per cent of people with diabetes have type 1diabetes in Malaysia. In this case, insulin replacement therapy will be required.

Risk Factors for Type 1 Diabetes

The risk factors for Type 1 diabetes is largely unknown and is still being researched. However, having a family member with type 1 diabetes increases the risk of developing the disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Individuals can experience different signs and symptoms of diabetes, and sometimes there may be no signs. Some of the signs commonly experienced include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of interest and concentration
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu)

Prevention of Type 1 Diabetes

At present, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.

Complications in Type 1 Diabetes

Common complications seen with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes are:

  • Heart attacks and stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve disease
  • Eye disease
  • Pregnancy complications

Maintaining blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol at or close to normal can help delay or prevent diabetes complications. Therefore people with type 1 diabetes need regular monitoring.

Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes

If medication or insulin is required, there is good news on that front, as medical research has made numerous advances in the treatment of diabetes. Your health care team can help develop a treatment regimen that is right for you.

References:
  1. International Diabetes Federation. About Diabetes [Online]. Available from: www.idf.org (Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)
  2. Joslin Diabetes Center. General Diabetes Facts and Information [Online]. Available from: www.joslin.org/info/general_diabetes_facts_and_information.html (Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)
  3. Malaysian Diabetes Association. What is diabetes [Online]. Available from: www.diabetes.org.my (Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)

 

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

More than 99% per cent of diabetic patients in Malaysia have type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) or type 2 diabetes in short. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced. It usually develops in adulthood, although increasing numbers of children in high-risk populations are being diagnosed.

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Several risk factors have been associated with type 2 diabetes and include:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Increasing age
  • High blood pressure
  • Ethnicity
  • Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)*
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) is a category of higher than normal blood glucose, but below the threshold for diagnosing diabetes.

Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Individuals can experience different signs and symptoms of diabetes, and sometimes there may be no signs. Some of the signs commonly experienced include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of interest and concentration
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu)

Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes

Preventive measures to avert type 2 diabetes are through a balanced diet and regular physical activity. A balanced and nutritious diet helps prevent sudden increases in blood sugar levels and reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Increased physical activity is important in maintaining weight loss and is linked to reduced blood pressure, reduced resting heart rate, increased insulin sensitivity, improved body composition and psychological well-being.

In addition, abstinence from smoking and maintaining a regular sleep pattern (7-8 hours of sleep a day) could also help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Complications of Type 2 Diabetes

Common complications seen with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes are:

  • Heart attacks and stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve disease
  • Eye disease
  • Memory and cognition deficits
  • Pregnancy complications

Maintaining blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol at or close to normal can help delay or prevent diabetes complications. Therefore people with type 2 diabetes need regular monitoring.

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

If medication or insulin is required, there is good news on that front, as medical research has made numerous advances in the treatment of diabetes. Your health care team can help develop a treatment regimen that is right for you.

References:
  1. International Diabetes Federation. About Diabetes [Online]. Available from: www.idf.org (Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)
  2. Joslin Diabetes Center. General Diabetes Facts and Information [Online]. Available from: www.joslin.org/info/general_diabetes_facts_and_information.html (Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)
  3. Malaysian Diabetes Association. What is diabetes [Online]. Available from: www.diabetes.org.my (Accessed: 2nd January, 2015)
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