November 14 is World Diabetes Day.
One in every five urban adult Indians now suffer from diabetes and/or hypertension according to a recent study (Screening India’s Twin Epidemic*). Diabetes is a silent killer. If uncontrolled, it can lead to deadly complications.
Effect on fat and metabolism (Diabetic ketoacidosis): Since the hormone insulin which breaks down glucose is lacking, in uncontrolled cases, the body starts using fat as the fuel source. While you might think it’s not such a bad idea to lose some fat, what this leads to is build up of byproducts of fat digestion called ‘ketones’. If you’re not taking your insulin doses regularly, have fever/diarrhea/vomiting and/or going through a lot of stress or an alcoholic, you need to be extra careful about developing this condition called ‘ketoacidosis’. If you develop symptoms like deep gasping breathing, acute pain in the abdomen, bad dehydration leading to weakness and fainting, vomiting, it’s time you take it seriously and contact your doctor.
Effect on the eyes (Diabetic retinopathy): Retina (the innermost layer of your eye) is affected by ineffective blood glucose control. . The small blood vessels in the retina are damaged and weakened. The early symptom of eye problems related to diabetes is blurred vision and double vision. It can also cause a severe, permanent loss of vision. Diabetes increases the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.
Effect on kidneys (Diabetic nephropathy): If you notice swelling in your feet and legs or around your eyes, your kidneys might get affected because of the uncontrolled blood sugar levels. If you have hypertension (or high BP), your chances of developing this is even higher.
Effect on nerves: Some of the nerves, especially around your peripheries like legs might get affected first leading to a loss of sensation. You might not be able to figure out if you’ve had an injury and it may end up getting infected. Diabetic gangrene (infection of the leg, leading to decay of flesh) can occur and the leg may have to be amputated. Uncontrolled diabetes can also affect nerves that control your heartbeat, blood pressure, digestion, blood flow to organs etc leading to diarrhea, erectile dysfunction, loss of bladder control, vision changes, and dizziness.
Effect on heart: If you are a smoker, have high blood pressure, are grossly overweight and/or have a family history of diabetes and are diagnosed with diabetes, you have a greater risk of developing heart disease, strokes.
If you are a diabetic, you are now more aware of the complications that would arise if you do not take your medications regularly and/or go for regular medical checkups. If you aren’t one (Click here to find out if you have some of the symptoms of diabetes), you better work on your lifestyle and diet habits so that you can prevent the disease.
Picture Source: foodfordiabeticstoday.com
* The Sanofi SITE (Screening India’s Twin Epidemic) study screened 16,000 patients in over 800 medical centres in eight states.