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Take Charge of Diabetes: Empower Your Health!

When blood sugar (glucose) levels are excessive, you develop diabetes. A chronic disease that is commonly referred to as "diabetes mellitus."

It happens when your pancreas either doesn't produce any or enough insulin or when your body doesn't react appropriately to insulin's effects. Diabetes affects people of all ages. Diabetes comes in various forms, most of which are chronic (lifelong) and treatable with drugs or by altering one's lifestyle.

 Carbohydrates in your meals and beverages are the primary source of glucose (sugar). It is the primary source of energy for your body. All your body's cells receive glucose from your blood for fuel.

There are several types of diabetes, including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. 

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
  •  Type 2 diabetes is when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't produce enough insulin to meet the body's needs. 
  • Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.


If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness. However, with proper management, people with diabetes can live healthy and active lives.


Which forms of diabetes are there?


Diabetes comes in a variety of forms. The most typical types include:


Type 2 diabetes:

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body produces insufficient insulin, or the cells don't react appropriately (insulin resistance). This form of diabetes is the most prevalent. Children can contract it, but it primarily affects adults.


A person has prediabetes if their blood sugar level is higher than usual but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. It is also known as "borderline diabetes." A person with prediabetes is at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes:

In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system targets and kills the pancreas' cells responsible for producing insulin. By allowing glucose to enter cells for energy, the hormone insulin aids in controlling blood sugar levels. 

Gestational diabetes:

A form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. It is a condition in which the body cannot adequately make or utilize insulin to control blood sugar levels during pregnancy. 


High blood sugar levels are caused by the placenta's hormone production during pregnancy, making it harder for insulin to function correctly. Around 2-10% of pregnancies worldwide are affected by gestational diabetes, which often manifests during the second half of pregnancy. 


How common is diabetes? 


Millions of individuals worldwide suffer from a chronic disease known as diabetes. Although the precise prevalence of diabetes varies by location and nation, it is believed that more than 10% of adults in many countries are affected by the disease. Even though diabetes can strike anyone at any age, it tends to strike more frequently in older adults, obese or overweight people, and those with a family history. 

What are the symptoms of diabetes?


Depending on the kind and stage of the disease, the signs and symptoms of diabetes can change. However, a few widespread signs include:


1. Increased thirst and urination: High blood sugar levels cause the kidneys to attempt to filter out the excess sugar through the urine, which can result in increased urination. Dehydration from this may result in increased thirst.

2. Fatigue: High blood sugar levels, particularly after meals, might exhaust you.

3. Distorted vision: High blood sugar levels can harm the eyes and result in distorted eyesight.

4. Cuts and bruises take longer to heal: High blood sugar levels interfere with the body's capacity to heal wounds.

5. Increased hunger: Despite eating frequently, some people with diabetes may experience an increased appetite.

6. Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet: Excessive blood sugar can harm the nerves, resulting in numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.


What causes diabetes?


Diabetes, irrespective of the kind, is caused by an excess of glucose in the blood. However, depending on the type of diabetes you have, there are different causes for high blood glucose levels.


  • Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune response where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leads to a lack of insulin production necessary to regulate blood sugar levels. The exact cause of this autoimmune response is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  • A combination of genetic and lifestyle factors causes type 2 diabetes. It occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, which leads to high blood sugar levels. This resistance can be caused by obesity, physical inactivity, and a diet high in processed and sugary foods.
  • Other less common forms of diabetes include gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy and is caused by hormonal changes, and monogenic diabetes, which is caused by a single gene mutation.


What are the complications of diabetes?

Numerous complications can arise from diabetes, especially if it is not adequately managed. The following are some of the most typical complications of diabetes:

1. Cardiovascular disease: Blood vessels can be harmed by high blood sugar levels, which raises the risk of heart disease and stroke.

2. Nerve damage: High blood sugar levels can harm the nerves all over the body, resulting in a variety of symptoms like tingling, discomfort, and numbness.

3. Kidney damage: High blood sugar levels can cause kidney damage over time, progressing to renal disease and kidney failure.

4. Eye damage: High blood sugar levels can harm the blood vessels in the eyes, which can cause several vision issues, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

5. Foot injury: High blood sugar levels can harm the nerves and blood vessels in the feet, resulting in ulcers, infections, and, in severe cases, amputations.

6. Skin and mouth infections: High blood sugar levels speed healing and increase the risk of skin and mouth infections.

7. Mental health conditions: Diabetes can increase the risk of mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and others.


How is diabetes diagnosed?

Fasting blood glucose test:

For a fasting blood glucose test, you must refrain from eating or drinking anything other than water for at least eight hours before the test. This test lets your doctor assess your baseline blood sugar because eating can significantly influence it.

Random blood glucose test:

The word "random" refers to whether you can do this test whenever you choose, whether or not you've fasted.


Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test: 

 This test provides your average blood glucose level over the last two to three months, also known as the HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin test.


How is diabetes managed?

The management of diabetes typically involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. The specific approach will depend on the type of diabetes, the severity of the condition, and other individual factors.


Lifestyle changes that can help manage diabetes include:


1. Eating a healthy diet: This means avoiding foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates and focusing on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.


2. Exercising regularly: Regular physical activity can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health.


3. Maintaining a healthy weight: This can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of complications.


4. Monitoring blood sugar levels: Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels can help identify patterns and adjust treatment accordingly.


5. Managing stress: Stress can affect blood sugar levels, so finding ways to manage stress, such as through meditation or relaxation techniques, can be helpful.


In addition to lifestyle changes, medication may also be necessary to manage diabetes. The most common medications used to treat diabetes include:


1. Insulin: This is used to replace or supplement the body's natural insulin production in people with type 1 diabetes and may also be used in some cases of type 2 diabetes.


2. Oral medications: are used to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes who cannot manage their condition through lifestyle changes alone.


3. Other medications: Depending on the individual's needs, other medicines may be prescribed to manage specific symptoms or complications of diabetes, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Getting the right medication is vital to improving your health. At Al Adwani general Hospital we have one of the best pharmacies in the KSA region, Makkah.  


People with diabetes must work closely with their healthcare team to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their needs and goals. AL Adwani General Hospital provides one of the finest medical laboratories in Taif. We can help you ensure regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, adjusting medications as needed, and making ongoing lifestyle changes to manage the condition effectively. That is why we are one of the best healthcare providers in the KSA region.