February 07, 2014


Diabetes is a characterised by high levels of sugar in the blood. This may occur due to inadequate insulin production by pancreas or because body cells do not respond to insulin properly or both. The symptoms observed when suffering from diabetes are polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).
There are three types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes – The body fails to produce insulin. It is also referred as insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes as it develops before a person turns 40 years.
Risk Factors
Although the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, genetic factors likely play a role. Environmental factors, such as exposure to a viral illness, also likely play some role in type 1 diabetes. 
The presence of damaging immune system cells that make autoantibodies. Sometimes family members of people with type 1 diabetes are tested for the presence of diabetes autoantibodies. If you have these autoantibodies, you have an increased risk of developing type 1 Diabetes. But, not everyone who has these autoantibodies develops type 1.
  • Dietary factors - A number of dietary factors have been linked to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes, such as low vitamin D consumption; early exposure to cow's milk or cow's milk formula; or exposure to cereals before 4 months of age. However, none of these factors has been shown to cause type 1 diabetes.
  • Race - Type 1 diabetes is more common in whites than in other races.
  • Geography - Certain countries, such as Finland and Sweden, have higher rates of type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes – The body does not produce adequate insulin or the body cells fail to respond to the insulin and show a resistance towards it. Approximately 90% of diabetes worldwide is type 2 diabetes. This kind can be controlled with a proper healthy diet, weight management, exercises and monitoring the sugar levels. 

Risk Factors
  • Weight - The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Inactivity - The less active you are, the greater your risk. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin. Exercising less than three times a week may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Family history - Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
  • Race - Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asians — are at higher risk.
  • Age - Your risk increases as you get older. This may be because you tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as you age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.
  • Gestational diabetes - If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you're also at risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome - For women, having polycystic ovary increases the risk of diabetes.
  • High blood pressure - Having blood pressure over 140/90mm Hg is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels - If you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol, your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher. Low levels of HDL are defined as below 35 mg/dL.
  • High levels of triglycerides - Triglycerides are a fat carried in the blood. If your triglyceride levels are above 250 mg/dL, your risk of diabetes increases.
Gestational Diabetes – This kind usually affects females as some have high levels of glucose in blood during pregnancy. The glucose in the body progressively rises as there is not enough insulin produced to transport all of the glucose into body cells. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes may result in complications during birth.
Risk Factors
Any pregnant woman can develop gestational diabetes, but some women are at greater risk than are others. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
  • Age - Women older than age 25 are at increased risk.
  • Family or personal history - Your risk increases if you have prediabetes or if a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has type 2 diabetes. You're also at greater risk if you had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy, if you delivered a very large baby or if you had an unexplained stillbirth.
  • Weight - Being overweight before pregnancy increases your risk.
  • Race - For reasons that aren't clear, women who are black, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
  • Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes include:
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there's not enough insulin)
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal or bladder infections

  • High fiber vegetables such as peas, beans, broccoli and spinach /leafy vegetables should be included in one's diet. Also, pulses with husk and sprouts are a healthy option and should form a part of the diet.
  • Pulses are important in the diet as their effect on blood glucose is less than that of most other carbohydrate containing foods.
  • Nuts such as almonds are loaded with fibre, magnesium and good fats that help reduce insulin resistance and make it easier to control the sugar level in blood. 
  • Cinnamon also has positive effects in lowering blood sugar levels.
  • One teaspoon of methi seeds soaked overnight in 100 ml of water is very effective in controlling diabetes. 
  • Drink tomato juice with salt and pepper ever morning on an empty stomach. 
  • Whole grains, oats, channaatta, millets and other high fiber foods should be included in the meals.
  • Milk is the right combination of carbohydrates and proteins and helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Good fats such as Omega 3 and MUFA should be consumed as they are good for the body. Natural sources for these are canola oil, flax seed oil, fatty fish and nuts. These are also low in cholesterol and are trans fat free.
  • Fruits high in fiber such as papaya, apple, orange, pear and guava should be consumed. 
  • Mangoes, bananas, and grapes contain high sugar; therefore these fruits should be consumed lesser than the others.

Sources: mayoclinic.com


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