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Diabetes is a chronic disease that is characterized by absolute or relative insufficiency of insulin in blood. Insulin is a hormone that helps convert glucose into energy in the human cells. When our body doesn't produce enough insulin or the cells are not sensitive to insulin, diabetes can occur. Diabetes is caused by high blood glucose levels and is manifested with a lot of health problems such as blindness, cardiovascular diseases, kidney insufficiency and CNS disorders.
There are three main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus , and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the damage of beta cells of the pancreas that produces insulin. This type of diabetes usually appears in young adults or children. It is manifested with increased appetite, thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, weakness, skin problems and CNS disturbances.
Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in people who suffer from obesity and are over 40 years. The symptoms may include: thirst, tiredness, weight loss, vision disorders, decreased immunity, slow wound healing.
Gestational diabetes is found in pregnant women. Severe or if not treated it can lead to serious health problems for the mother and the fetus. It is very important to make a right diagnosis and begin corresponding treatment before serious complications appear. There are some important principles for good diabetes care. Having good diabetes care decrease the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks or stroke, nerve damage, gum diseases and others.
Diabetes affects many physiological systems of the human body. Therefore it is necessary to have a good team of health care professionals such as : doctors, pharmacists, dietitians, eye specialists, dentists and nurses. Their experience and the patient's will-power will help to live with diabetes a long and active life.
Important principles of good care of diabetes include:
- You should know and learn as much as you can about diabetes. What type of diabetes do you suffer from, what are the common symptoms and complications, what factors of risk can worsen your condition. Knowing all of these will help you work properly with your health care team and improve your state of health.
- You should regularly visit your health care team, tell your doctors all the complaints you have. If the treatment doesn't work they must change it.
- You should know how to control your diabetes. It means how to take medicines as prescribed, how to look after yourself, how to make healthy food and perform physical exercises. All of these will help you maintain your health and control the blood sugar levels.
- Monitor and try to take care of your diabetes ABC's(A1C-Blood glucose average over the last three month, blood pressure and cholesterol). You can do that by following the doctor's instructions. Write down all your ABC numbers in the record card.
- Learn how to check your glucose levels during the day on your own. Write down your glucose targets after meals, before meals and at bedtime.
- Talk with your health care providers about daily aspirin use.
- Do not smoke and try to avoid too much alcohol drinking.
- Try to stay positive and forget about stress.
The right treatment, social support and good diabetes care will help you overcome health problems caused by this severe disease.