What Is Diabetes Mellitus and Its Management

Diabetes mellitus is a disease resulting from defects in secretion or action of a hormone called insulin. Insulin is responsible for maintaining optimum blood glucose levels. This is why lack of insulin results in an increase in the blood glucose levels which can cause a wide range of health problems. There are two types of diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

The main problem with type 1 diabetes is destruction of cells producing insulin. There will be no production of insulin by our body. It occurs earlier in life and it can be effectively managed with the replacement of insulin from outside.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is due to insulin resistance. Insulin is being produced by our body but it is unable to perform its desired action. It occurs late in life.

How is Diabetes Managed?

The aim of the treatment of diabetes is maintain a normal blood glucose level. This is the only way we can live a healthy and a long life. There are certain steps which can be carried out to make it possible. They include

  • Dietary measures
  • Exercise
  • Medications

1. Dietary Measures

This is one of the critical factors that can help to achieve an optimum blood glucose level. It is advised for diabetics to use a balanced diet containing fats, proteins as well as carbohydrates.

  • The approximate estimation of calories derived from these sources is as under
    • Proteinn-10-15%
    • Fat-30-35%
    • Carbohydrates-50-55%. The carbohydrates used by the diabetics should be in the form of starch. They should avoid readily absorbed carbohydrates such as glucose and sucrose. This is because such carbohydrates can produce a sudden rise in blood glucose level which is not good at all.
    • There are certain other dietary measures that can be opted to achieve an optimum blood glucose level
      • Use of nonnutritive sweeteners to make food palpable. They include saccharine, aspartame, and sucramate.
      • Increasing intake of fiber content as it can help to lower the blood glucose level as well as bad cholesterol (LDL). The fiber rich foods include beans, peas, pulses, fruits, and vegetables.

2. Physical Activity

Exercise is another important aspect that can help to achieve optimum blood glucose levels. This is because during exercise muscles use more glucose for energy production, thus lowering the blood glucose levels. The other beneficial effect of exercise is that it improves the response of body to insulin. The exact amount and type of physical activity required by a person varies individually and will be determined by your physician.

3. Medications

Insulin and oral Hypoglycemic (glucose lowering) drugs are the two main medications used to treating diabetes.

Oral Hypoglycemic (Glucose Lowering) Drugs

They are used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes which cannot be treated with simple dietary restrictions only. They include following classes of drugs

Sulphonylureas

They include drugs such as glibenclamide,gliclaside, glipizide and glimepride. They are used in non-obese diabetics. They can cause problems such as hypoglycemia, obesity and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Biguinides

They include Metformin. This is used in diabetics who are overweight. The other benefit of this drug is that it does not cause any hypoglycemia.

Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors

They include drugs such as Acarbose and Miglitol. They modestly improve the blood sugar control. They are likely to cause side effects such as flatulence, bloating and diarrhea.

Thiazolidinedions

They include Rosaglitazone and Pioglitazone. They may cause weight gain and damage to liver.

Insulin

Insulin is the only treatment option available for the patients with type 1 diabetics.  It is also indicated in patients with type 2 diabetics when blood sugar level is not controlled with dietary measurements or combination of diet and oral hypoglycemic drugs.

There are different forms of insulin available including regular insulin, intermediate acting, long acting insulin and they are used in different combinations to get an adequate sugar control. The accurate dosage of insulin required for you will be provided to you by your doctor,

What Education Every Diabetic Patient must get?

Every patient suffering from diabetes should be educated about the following points.

  • How to check blood glucose with the help of glucometer.
  • How to detect ketone bodies on urine analysis using strip
  • How to calculate the accurate dose of insulin
  • Symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) and how to treat it.
  • Avoiding trauma to the foot and proper care of hygiene.

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