How to manage diabetes melitus complications

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It is important you know that diabetes mellitus is a silent-killer and chronic metabolic disorder which makes the body unable to produce or use available insulin effectively for productive metabolism. It is a disease of public health interest.  Treating both types 1 and 2 diabetes involves medications, diet and exercise which are relevant for controlling blood sugar levels and preventing symptoms and complications.  Know and promptly report the case of your diabetes mellitus for easier management and treatment.  

Insulin is a hormone that converts sugars in our food or drink into biological energy for our body functions. It is insulin that regulates the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fatty and liver cells, where it can be utilized as fuel for metabolism. Diabetes Mellitus (DM), in simple terms is a group of metabolic condition which make people to have high blood sugar sequel to insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced or both.

ACHIEVABLE GOALS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF DIABETES

Lifelong attention to lifestyle modification, medication and monitoring are keys to good outcome in the management of diabetes. The primary goals in the management of diabetes are to maintain fasting blood sugar at below 131mg/dl, peak post-meal blood sugar at below 180mg/dl, blood pressure at below 130/80mmHg, low density lipoprotein Cholesterol at below 100mg/dl, body mass index at less than 25kg/m2 and waist circumference at below 102cm (male), 88cm (female).

These goals are achievable when people are aware of diabetes signs/ symptoms and consequences of its complications; and readily report to diabetes management centres for prompt medical attention and intervention. People with diabetes should present themselves to diabetes experts for regular medical examination so as to monitor the effects of therapy, assess disease progression; and to detect and treat possible diabetes complications.

DIABETES MELLITUS (DM) COMPLICATIONS

After many years, diabetes can lead to serious problems (complications) in these vital locations in the body namely the feet, eyes, heart, kidney and blood vessels. The notable complications include:

  • Cataract that affects eye lens resulting to blurred vision.
  • Retinopathy and troubled-vision especially at night.
  • Light sensitivity which could lead to blindness.
  • Nephropathy which can lead to scarring changes in the kidney tissue, loss of small or progressively larger amounts of protein in the urine.
  • Chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis.
  • Neuropathy which can result to numbness, tingling, pain, weakness or loss of feeling that typically starts in the feet and progresses up to the legs and fingers.
  • Because of the nerve damage, there could be difficulty in digesting food and maintaining erection.
  • Diabetic foot where the feet and skin are attacked by hard-to-treat painful sores and infections which sometimes lead to amputation of the affected foot or leg.

PECULIARITIES OF TYPES OF DIABETES MELLITUS 

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is usually a lifelong (chronic) disease which causes persistent deposit of high level of sugar in the blood. People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their body cannot move sugar into fatty, liver and muscle cells to be stored for energy production as the body demands. World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes three major types of diabetes mellitus. They are:

Type 1: This is a metabolic condition where the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. This imbalance hinders glucose (sugar) absorption into the relevant cells, resulting to blood glucose rise. It can occur at any age, but it is most often diagnosed in children, teens or young adults. Daily injections of insulin or wearing of insulin pump are needed. The exact etiology of this type of disease where the body (pancreas) produces little or no insulin is unknown.

Type 2: This describes a health problem which results from insulin resistance where cells fail to utilize the produced insulin properly; sometimes this is combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. Insulin resistance can be caused by factors which include obesity and heredity.  Type 2 diabetes mellitus is most common. It mostly occurs in adulthood. However, because of high rates of obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity, teens and young adults are now being diagnosed with it. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it. Therefore, there is need for regular medical update on your health status.

Type 3: This is regarded as gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy and naturally disappears after child birth. It is mostly a transient high blood sugar that can develop at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes previously. It is cautious to mention that gestational diabetes can be troublesome if not properly controlled. This makes it imperative for women to submit themselves to early medical supervision and advice as soon as they miss their period.

RISK FACTORS OF TYPE 2 DIABETES MELLITUS

The following modifiable and non- modifiable risk factors are peculiar to type 2 diabetes mellitus. They include:

  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • High fat
  • Overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure
  • Genetic factors
  • Age

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES MELLITUS

The signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus are excessive thirst, increased hunger (especially after eating), frequent urination even without intake of excess fluid (sometimes as often as every hour), extreme fatigue (weak, tired feeling), nausea, perhaps vomiting, blurred vision; and frequent vaginal and yeast infections. Other signs and symptoms include dry mouth, irritability, slow-healing of sores or cuts and bruises, severe itching on the skin (especially in the groin or vaginal area), unexplained weight loss (even with eating and feeling hungry), headaches, loss of consciousness (rare), impotency and recent weight gain. Velvety dark skin changes around the neck, armpit and groin; numbness and tingling of the hands and feet are included in signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus.

 AVOIDABLES IN DIABETES MELLITUS MANAGEMENT

People should avoid delays in reporting to hospital and self-medication when the above signs and symptoms of diabetes are observed. Alcohol intake, Ill-fitting footwear, colds and preventable injuries should be avoided especially if diagnosed with diabetes. Cigarette/tobacco smoking and overweight should be avoided. Avoid a careless posture towards early antenatal care.

RELEVANT MEASURES AGAINST DIABETES MELLITUS

Eating of healthy diet that is low in bad cholesterol and animal fats checks diabetes. Fish, fruits, nuts and vegetables must be part of a healthy diet. Engaging in aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week, 20-30 minutes per session and reducing salt intake to less than 2g per day are good measures against diabetes.

Do a recommended self-monitoring of blood glucose regularly. Keep an ideal body weight and an active/healthy lifestyle to prevent type 2 diabetes. Prevent diabetes complications; do not ignore the symptoms and signs, visit or report to your health care provider at least two to four times a year. Talk about any problems you are having, get diabetes testing and partner with medical experts to start a treatment or management plan early if diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.

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