Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.
There are 2 main types of diabetes :
- type 1 diabetes – where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
- type 2 diabetes – where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells do not react to insulin
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In India, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2. During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is known as gestational diabetes.
- This is sometimes known as pre-diabetes. If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased.
- Diabetes needs to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.
- Many more people have blood sugar levels above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes.
When to see a doctor :
Visit your physician as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes, which include:
- feeling very thirsty
- peeing more frequently than usual, particularly at night
- feeling very tired
- weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
- itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
- cuts or wounds that heal slowly
- blurred vision
- Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days.
- Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realizing it because early symptoms tend to be general.
Causes of diabetes :
The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach). When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it's broken down to produce energy. However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there's either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly. You can help manage type 2 diabetes through healthy eating, regular exercise, and achieving a healthy body weight.
Living with diabetes :
If you're diagnosed with diabetes, you'll need to eat healthily, regular exercise, and carry out regular blood tests to ensure your blood glucose levels stay balanced. You can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to check whether you're a healthy weight. You can find apps and tools to help you manage your diabetes and have a healthier lifestyle.
People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes also require regular insulin injections for the rest of their life.
As type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, a medicine may eventually be required, usually in the form of tablets.
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers :
- The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
- The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
They're both measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
As a general guide:
high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you're over the age of 80); ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you're at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Everyone's blood pressure will be slightly different. What's considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else.
Risks of high blood pressure :
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart, and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys, and eyes. Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of several serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
• heart disease
• heart attacks
• heart failure
• peripheral arterial disease
• aortic aneurysms
• kidney disease
• vascular dementia
Causes of high blood pressure :
It's not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but certain things can increase your risk.
You're at an increased risk of high blood pressure if you:
• are over the age of 65
• are overweight
• have a relative with high blood pressure
• eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables • do not do enough exercise
• drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
• do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep
Making healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it's already high.
Treatment for high blood pressure :
The doctor can help you keep your blood pressure to a safe level using:
• lifestyle changes
What works best is different for each person. Talk to your doctor to help you decide about treatment.
Medicines for high blood pressure :
If you're diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend taking 1 or more medicines to keep it under control. These come as tablets and usually need to be taken once a day.
Common blood pressure medicines include:
• ACE inhibitors – such as enalapril, lisinopril, perindopril, and ramipril
• angiotensin-2 receptor blockers (ARBs) – such as candesartan, irbesartan, losartan, valsartan, and olmesartan
• calcium channel blockers – such as amlodipine, felodipine and nifedipine or diltiazem, and verapamil
• diuretics – such as indapamide and bendroflumethiazide
• beta-blockers – such as atenolol and bisoprolol
• alpha-blockers – such as doxazosin
• other diuretics – such as amiloride and spironolactone
The medicine recommended for you will depend on things like how high your blood pressure is, your age, and your ethnicity